My name is Pedro, I come from Seville, Southern Spain, and recently landed in Paris to start my one-year journey as a FOODENGINE fellow. I received my bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology in 2018 from the University Pablo de Olavide in my hometown, after having spent a year as an Erasmus exchange student at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany). Amazed about how travelling enriched me personally, I decided to continue living abroad and do a master’s degree in Food Technology at Wageningen University and Research, in the Netherlands. This latter experience could not get any better! However, the covid-19 pandemic made me return home in March, where I finished the writing of my MSc thesis on Irish culinary foodways and did an online internship with Arla foods on the chemistry and sensory science of potential plant ingredients for milk alternatives. Meanwhile, I could also relish some time close to my family and friends.
I graduated during late October 2020 and amid my job search I came across this opportunity. A year in Paris, hosted by AgroParisTech and INRAe, working on the project “Evaluation of odor-active compounds in pea-based cakes applications” with a compulsory industrial secondment at Cargill R&D Center in Vilvoorde (Belgium). I could not say “no” to such an interesting offer. My main objective is to further understand the generation and fate of odor-active molecules in pea-based cakes by combining a formulation engineering approach with analytical chemistry and sensory studies. Besides being given the change to dig into scientific disciplines that I had not explored in a practical sense before, I thought this experience could also greatly help me decide upon whether pursuing a PhD afterwards or considering other career paths.
I love food in all its textures and shapes. From its symbolic, political, and societal meaningfulness to the STI behind cooking, primary food production, food ingredients and food systems holistically. Thinking about the food I ate and still eat at home awakened this interest. I believe one of the key challenges we face as a species resides on how we nourish ourselves more in harmony with nature while eradicating societal injustices. Thus, I look forward to developing my scientific career towards contributing to the creation of greener, more just, and resilient food systems worldwide.