Part of the Museum’s 2024 Earthshot spotlight, Tomorrow’s Menu explores the sustainable food solutions of the future

BOSTON, MA – The Museum of Science, Boston today announced its newest digital series Tomorrow’s Menu, a cooking show hosted by renowned Boston-based chef Douglass Williams exploring our changing environment and its impact on food now and in the future. Part of the Museum’s Earthshot spotlight, a yearlong exploration of the climate solutions that will help us live more sustainably on Earth, Tomorrow’s Menu pairs chef Williams with subject matter experts who together prepare sustainable and delicious options for future menus, delving into questions of climate adaptation, carbon neutrality, food insecurity, and innovation in plant-based meat alternatives.

Williams, founder and owner of Boston restaurants MIDA, Apizza, and DW French, was named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in 2020 and earned an “Outstanding Chef” nomination from the James Beard Foundation in 2023. In Tomorrow’s Menu, he draws on his extensive culinary expertise to create delectable dishes from sustainable options, pegging climate change conversations to specific ingredients. Three initial episodes explore eco-friendly food choices from the field, lab, and sea, using mustard greens, plant-based meat alternatives, and black sea bass as launchpads for discussing the ways climate change is affecting what and how we eat.

“Tomorrow’s Menu explores the intricate relationship between our environment and the food on our tables," said Alexis Rapo, chief digital officer at the Museum of Science. “In Tomorrow’s Menu, we aim to show how everyday choices in our kitchens can have a big impact on the environment. This series isn't just about observing; it's about inspiring action. Viewers will learn from Chef Williams and experts how small changes when we’re cooking at home or out to eat can contribute to a more sustainable future. We want to empower our audience to make informed decisions in their own kitchens, turning insights into practical, positive actions for our planet.”

In the “From the Field” episode, Chef Williams is joined by Derek Baker, lead industrial design engineer at Boston-based Freight Farms, in a lively discussion about hydroponics, or the cultivation of plants in liquid nutrient solutions rather than soil. A potential remedy for food insecurity, temperature-controlled hydroponic gardens grow nutrient-rich, water-efficient crops year-round with LED lights, making them suitable for placement anywhere, including food deserts. One of Freight Farms’ vertical, hydroponic shipping container farms is currently installed in the Museum’s Blue Wing, providing produce for the Live Animal Center. As Williams and Baker prepare a mustard greens rice bowl, they discuss hydroponics as a viable alternative to traditional farming that reduces carbon emissions from the long-distance transportation of produce.

“From the Lab” explores the environmental benefits of plant-based, lab-grown meat alternatives. Christophe Chantre, CEO and cofounder of Tender, a Somerville-based food and materials science technology startup, supplies Chef Williams with their Tender Foods pulled pork for a spin on a chopped cheese hoagie. As they cook and converse, we learn why eating sustainably is one of the most impactful steps we can take to reduce our individual carbon footprints. Animal agriculture is a primary contributor to climate change, making plant-based meat alternatives a key food choice for future menus.

Helen Cheng, a climate scientist at Northeastern University, explains how we might adapt to and mitigate the negative effects of ocean warming as Chef Williams prepares black sea bass in “From the Sea.” A range-shifting species, sometimes called “invasive” or “non-native,” black sea bass have proliferated in the Gulf of Maine in recent years due to rising ocean temperatures. Shifting public perceptions about the desirability of black sea bass, and making it more commercially available by modifying current catch limit restrictions, would be a boon to fishermen, consumers, and marine ecosystems.

The museum’s digital channels reach over 100 million people online every year, transforming public science learning for audiences around the globe. Part of the Museum’s yearlong Earthshot spotlight, Tomorrow’s Menu kicks off a suite of new digital series and partnerships dedicated to climate change and the sustainable and equitable climate solutions that will transform the ways we eat, live, move, and work. Tomorrow’s Menu is made possible through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.