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Molecular Gastronomy

January 24, 2012 12:41 pm - Posted by Jody in Eat

Cooking can be considered both an art and a science.  We experience it as an art in its presentation as a multisensory experience.

What a chef creates in the kitchen, in their food’s aromas, flavours, textures, sounds, and appearance is a unique amalgamation of a creative mind alongside a systematic one.  This idea becomes amplified  in the modern cooking discipline of molecular gastronomy.  This field uncovers the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking.  All cooking is a chemical reaction but the way we might cook something may create a very different end result.  Cooking and egg for example.  Think of all the many different ways and products we can come up with by heating an egg.  The difference though is the process.  What are we doing to the egg before we expose it to heat, how are we heating the egg, and at what temperature are we heating it.

In the 1980′s, French chemist Hervé discovered that cooking involved a systematic method.  He devoted his time to looking for the mechanisms of phenomena that occur during culinary transformations. He discovered that the perfect temperature to cook an egg is around 65°C.  At this temperature the white coagulates, but not the yolk.  He coined the scientific term “Molecular and Physical Gastronomy.”

Today, many chef’s are beginning to experiment with this idea.  Some of these molecular gastronomy techniques include using carbon dioxide as a source for adding bubbles and making foams, liquid nitrogen for flash freezing and shattering, syringes for injecting unexpected fillings, edible paper made from soybeans and potato starch for use with edible fruit inks, spherification to create a caviar like effect, and avant-guarde presentation styles.

Many chefs of this discipline do not like the name molecular gastronomy, and so have referred to it as modern cuisine, experimental cuisine, or avant garde cuisine. Alvin Leung, the Demon Chef, owner of Bo Innovation, with whom we had the pleasure of meeting with while we were filming in China, referred to the molecular gastronomy cuisine made at his Michelin awarded restaurant, as X-treme Chinese Cuisine. http://wineportfolio.com/sectionEatTheDemonChef.html

We’d love to hear some of your feedback on this modern take on cooking.  We think its absolutely an experience to try!

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