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ICE Council graduate member Emily Bonner was at the ICE dinner on MasterChef: The Professionals where the similarities between cooking and engineering were consumed.
I sat my Chartered Professional Review at One Great George Street earlier this year so I could really relate to the pressure all the chefs must have been feeling when asked to perform at their best in such a beautiful and historic setting for the Knockout Week challenge of MasterChef: The Professionals.
As the ICE 200 year fast approaches our MasterChef-catered three course dinner shown on BBC Two last Thursday was specifically designed to mark the start of a programme of events and activities taking place across the UK throughout next year. (If you missed the episode on 7 December you can catch it on BBC iPlayer.)
Our dinner was held in the large and ornately decorated Great Hall at One Great George Street. The space can usually accommodate up to 260 guests for the grandest of events so it was quite special to have a private dinner for the six of us.
As dinner guests we were away from the heat of the kitchen and didn’t meet the chef contestants until after the meal.
The whole meal was amazing but the starter using Dover sole and potted shrimp was probably my favourite dish – unusual as I often wouldn’t choose to eat fish.
Over the meal we had the opportunity to discuss our own cooking skills and some of the parallels with civil engineering. For me, one of the key similarities is that there are scientific principles that govern but there is also room to be creative and innovative.
In cooking we know to add cornflour to thicken a sauce but there are endless ways to add flavour and the many dishes we can serve it with. Civil engineering is similar. For example, there are principles that guide the design of reinforced concrete elements but these can be applied in many different ways to a huge range of structures from buildings to tunnels to bridges.
The opportunity to apply science and maths in creative ways to solve challenges is what attracted me to a career in engineering. As a civil engineer I find it incredibly rewarding to see my projects being constructed and to be part of delivering buildings and infrastructure that transform people’s lives.