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How do you feel about Molecular Gastronomy?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Molecular Gastronomy - n. in cooking, the study and application of chemistry, physics, and other scientific principles on its processes, preparation, and materials.

Ferran Adria and other well known chefs are doing this. I think its more of being scientists rather then being a chef. It is interesting but at the same time is sort of bringing down this industry. But thats just my opinion.

But the chefs who are doing so dont like to call it Molecular Gastronomy.

How do you all feel about this?
"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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"Some of us Cook. Some of us Grow. All of us Eat."
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post #2 of 17
Just cashing in on a new way of presenting and delivering flavor.
post #3 of 17
If your interested in what Molecular Gastronomy is about you should check out "Molecular Gastronomy" written by Herve This. Fascinating stuff. I wouldn't say that molecular gastronomy is bringing down the industry?? Alot of the idea behind what motivates it is to add new dimensions to food or to try and find the best way (possibly contrary to what is traditional taught) to treat certain produce.

Traditionally we have been taught many things such as to blanch asparagus in boiling water where infact asparagus differs from other green veg in that it is water soluble so the best way to treat it is to cook it in fat, butter or a butter emulsion for example.

Without these chefs and scientist who are pushing the boundries of what we know and think we know, we wouldn't be treating our produce in the best possible manner.

I have eaten in The Fat Duck, and had the tasting menu which i thought was exceptional, I would have returned the next night for the exact same menu it was that good!! Some of the flavour combinations that I was convinced wouldn't work were extremely well balanced.

I by no means think that so called "molecular gastronomy" Blumenthal, Ferra et al are the way forward for all kitchens. I think the amount of time research and dedication to get that right on a daily basis is immense. I have seen on many menus the likes of fruit caviar, but they don't have the same texture unless made a la minute and i doubt most places that have them on the carte have the man power to do that. Hence all the trouble they've gone through to create a new texture sensation has gone to waste because their caviar is like bullets.

In short I still think that most kitchens will remain traditional, but I think the things that can be learnt and applied from this kind of research can be invaluable to any chef worth his salt, because any chef worth his salt is gonna want to understand his produce to be able to utilise and cook it in a way that is going to be the absolute best for that product.

If you want to see some really off the wall cooking check out Alinea in Chicago i think? Crazy presentation and ideas, this although interesting I think is a bit over the top, it seems to be more about presentation than anything else. Insane presentation though!! :) But the proof is in the tasting and I haven't eaten there..... :( YET
post #4 of 17
Herve This's book is vague and brief. More questions are posed than answers. Some say it was lost in translation from french but whatever....On Food and Cooking by Harold Mcgee is the book to read if you need to know the science behind the cooking. It is still the most comprehensive book on the subject available. Published in 1984 it is by no means a new trendy thing. As far as the "caviar" and stuff goes, aren't most of us trying to avoid additives in food?
Keep those fires burnin'
 
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Keep those fires burnin'
 
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post #5 of 17

it's like Karate- it can be use for good, as well as evil

Knowledge is a powerful thing, Knowing how to cook the perfect egg or make a fuffy zabaglione, through years of expierience is fantastic, and molecular gastonomy can teach you WHY you make it perfect. Understanding why changes happen to food when you cook/prepare it can be a valuble tool. I't can be over-used or it can make all your cooking better, that's your choice, and your responcibility as a chef. i wouldn't shrugg off MG so soon in your career.
-read "On food and cooking"
-ciao
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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post #6 of 17
Molecular gastronomy...now I remember what people call it. I see it this way, you can use molecular gastronomy to enhance your food or you can use it to bring it down. You can over use it too but at least give it a shot. Cooking at a level (other than industrial level) where you use molecular gastronomy is bringing your art foward if it is used properly (which I'm still in the process to perfect/experiment with it...I will NEVER send out a bad product...its just shameful). Some people prefer the old/classical style which isn't bad, their art form is just different but if you can send out great, unusual, visual/tactile/olfactorable product then go for it. People say food should be "natural" but this is natural. The reason people eat food is to fill their stomach, enjoy their senses, regress to the past, and/or calm their emotional needs. If you can fulfill their needs you've done your job. If you can fulfill their needs and your needs to exceeded your job. If you can make a lasting impression on them and yourself you reached your highest and if you do that with or without molecular gastronomy you've served your purpose. There is no wrong or right about the use of molecular gastronomy. Food is food as long as you put your heart in it thats all that matters.
All perfections have imperfections.
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All perfections have imperfections.
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post #7 of 17
IMHO,
I think the lack of understanding has led to kicknames as "off the wall" and such.
I personally think it's a pretty simple concept, Food is Chemistry. I also feel that if you are wanting to pass on knowlege and creations to paying customers, then it is not something to dabble in. I think a Chef must have a precise understanding and be well grounded in his or her style of food before taking it to another level. I think it's the same for the Chemist. I would not hesitate for an instant to experience food that has resulted in a marriage or collaboration between Chef and Chemist.
Just my 2cents
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #8 of 17
Pan,

This past Monday I was at 7 world trade center in NYC taking a lesson with Joel Robuchon & Bruno Goussault (master of sous vide) this was a wonderful example of your collaboration.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #9 of 17
Would I pay $200 to eat a 10 course tasting of tablespoon portions that will most likely leave me hungry when I leave, not really.

I am fascinated with this subject, though, because there is such an incredible amount of information to grasp. It is heavy science combined with cooking, and being able to smoothly pull both off at the same time truly says alot about the Chef. If guests are willing to pay, then they are doing something right; Especially here in Chicago where big names in this game like Achatz and Cantu are based.

I sought out to work with Homaro Cantu a few months back but had to unfortunately turn the job down due to scheduling issues with school.
post #10 of 17
A bit off topic I no, but Grant Achatz was also at the conference and looks well, says he's feeling well. Lets all hope this young, truly gifted chef conquers his cancer.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #11 of 17
I hope so, one of my good friends worked with him while he was Chef of Trio and was totally devestated by the news. Thanks for the update, I have heard nothing of him ever since the diagnosis!
post #12 of 17

i'd call it fururistic cookery

Although I dont know a great deal about it, i do think science has a huge part to play in the way future chefs will relate to food and play with it. Unfortunately the chefs who are breaking scientific ground, (like Heston Blumenthal of snail porrige fame) will probarbly be blamed for the travesties produced by those more interested in what science is capable of than how good it is to eat.
I personally have no desire to produce this kind of food for my clients, They'd laugh me out of the board room. ..But isn't it fascinating
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #13 of 17
I've eaten at the Fat Duck a few times. The first time, a number of years ago, I had the tasting menu (when it had the snail porridge on the menu), and whilst some of it was exceptional, in my opinion, there were some things I didn't like at all.

BUT, the subsequent meals I've eaten there have all been exceptional.
post #14 of 17
I've had 32 courses at Atlantico Mini Bar in Wash DC.....fun.....lots of fun. I'd do it again. (And it was $80 pre tax and tip)

Gerard Craft at a restaurant in STL (Niche) has some sci-fi happening.....he taught a farmer-chef class for me last year just about this time. Bacon foam, apple air,......interesting......

I'd be into learning some of the techniques but am not passionate about switching from low-tech, local food to high techness.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #15 of 17
anybody wonder why achatz has tongue cancer.
post #16 of 17
We were discussing this at work today, while all the new chemical techniques are the rage can anyone say for sure about the long term effects of exposure. I hope the fad runs its course, how much alginate caviar and the like can you eat now that everyone is doing it.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
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Fluctuat nec mergitur
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post #17 of 17
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