103: Terra Kitchen

The below content replicates the content of the physical exhibit at CSU Spur. It can be used for reference, language translation, and additional accessibility.

What’s Cooking in the Terra Kitchen? 

Multipurpose Kitchen 

This kitchen was designed to be many different things: it’s a teaching kitchen that offers educational classes, it’s a test kitchen for companies to try new recipes, and it’s a commissary kitchen that local food businesses can use to make food. 

Learn more about the science of food as you explore more exhibits throughout the building. 

Image caption: The Terra Kitchen offers cooking classes, nutrition education, and food entrepreneurship. 

Food Innovation 

Culinologists are people who test and make new food products. 

In the Terra Kitchen, culinologists: 

  1. Research what people like to eat and how it changes 
  2. Try new equipment and production techniques  
  3. Make new and improved recipes 
  4. Create balanced and delicious meals 
  5. Develop product samples (or prototypes) for testing. A prototype is an early sample or model used to test an idea or process. 

Did you know only 1 out of 5 new grocery products are successful in the marketplace? 

Image caption: Culinologists are food artists and scientists! They combine the culinary arts with their food expertise. 

Product Testing 

Different tests can tell us if a new food product will be popular. Below are two examples of tests you might see in Terra. 

Focus Group Interviews: A focus group is a guided discussion to better understand what specific people think, believe, and feel. Focus groups can tell you how people decide which food product to buy, or what they like or dislike about a product’s taste, name, advertisement, or packaging. Ask a staff member how you can sign up to join a focus group! 

Sensory Evaluation: When we taste food and drinks, we use all five major senses: taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound. Sensory evaluation uses science to measure different characteristics – like how it looks and feels, and how it smells and tastes – that determine if we like what we’re tasting. Ask a staff member how you can sign up to be part of the sensory evaluation process! 


  1. Sweet
  2. Salty
  3. Sour
  4. Bitter
  5. Umami

These dots show the areas on our tongue that help our brains identify different tastes. 

Five basic tastes: Our tongues can identify five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (a Japanese word for savory foods like cheese). Your tongue can have up to 10,000 taste buds, and each taste bud can have up to 100 taste receptors! When you eat food, taste receptors on the tongue send signals to the brain that help us detect different tastes and flavors.  

Image caption: Focus group interviews explore what consumers think and feel about new products. 


Associate Attorney, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

Ms. Becker has dedicated her career to the Navajo Nation and its natural resources.  She is currently serving as an Associate Attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority.  Prior to this position, she had the honor of serving as the Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources from May 2013 to January 2019, as an appointee of President Begaye and Vice-President Nez, after serving eleven (11) years as an attorney for the Navajo Nation focusing on water rights and natural resources issues.  Continuing her deep interest and passion for water, she serves on the Leadership Team for the Water and Tribes Initiative in the Colorado River Basin, as a Commissioner on the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, as an appointee of Governor Lujan Grisham, and on the Navajo Nation Water Rights Commission, as an appointee of Speaker Damon.  Ms. Becker is equally passionate about supporting artists and serves as a Trustee for the Institute of American Indian Arts and Culture (IAIA), as an appointee of President Obama.  Ms. Becker is a member of the Nation and lives on the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance with her husband and two school age children.

Wave art