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High school culinary teacher in need of gastronomy help

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
My culinary 2 class wants to learn gastronomy techniques. I have worked in the food industry and attended culinary school but I do not have any experience in gastronomy. I am looking for recipe books or any material that will help my guide my students. I am also looking for places online that I can purchase the items need for my students, chemicals, equipment, etc. Any advice would be helpful.

Thank you for your time,

Chef Subvet 763
post #2 of 10
Awesome! I would suggest starting with hydro colloids and various gelling agents alinea has a huge array of fairly simply broken down recipes on huge complex avant garde technique. iSi containers are great for goofing with foams and Ferran adria's site sells meat glue and 'caviar' kits which are super versatile. Also his el bulli works are super insightful especially '93 to now. I've found the easiest stuff to work with are xantham gum for thickening, gelatin sheets and agar agar for gelling, versawhip for a silky oily texture, also xantham and versawhip make a great emulsifying/thickener combo. Dextrose is a cool way to spread flavored around in another texture too. Sous Vide is crazy popular and all you need is a pot and a thermometer
post #3 of 10

Don't forget some maltodextrin to make bacon powder or melt-in-your-mouth olive oil (maltodextrin is a tasteless tapioca that binds to oils, turning a flavored oil base into a powder consistency). :) I wish I had a high school culinary teacher like you, researching ways to spruce up the curriculum! Your kids are going to have a ton of fun!

post #4 of 10

I'd pick up some cook books. The Fat Duck, Alinea, and maybe the Eleven Madison Park book.

post #5 of 10
And is a great site
post #6 of 10

Harold McGee's On Cooking and of course the holy grail of molecular gastronomy... the 5 book series Modernist Cuisine. A series no doubt your students would enjoy.

post #7 of 10

what exactly do YOU think gastronomy IS? (it's not about gels, foams and such perse, at least not for me....) why do you think when you finished culinary school you are not able to offer your students enough?

of course its fun playing around with things but what's most important is that your students will learn the basics first (depending what class you are teaching!).

the latter is something I see lacking in many schools (esp private ones) over here in europe.....

so basic recipes, cutting techniques, how to clean and cut up meat or fish...make them THINK about how things work and why some things do not work that way or the other.

post #8 of 10

I think you're using the Term Gastronomy Incorrectly. Don't forget that Gastronomy means "Gastronomy is the study of food and culture" You are looking for what some refer to as  Molecular Gastronomy. Make sure your students know this difference. 


As to some simple Molecular Gastronomy Techniques  they're quite a few you can pull off with just the every day items. Some other items are cheap easy to obtain items like Xanthan gum or Agar Agar. (some times these bottles may read just Xanthan or Agar on them)  you can pick these up at your local health store so that's less ordering for you as well.


One of the easiest Molecular Gastronomy type of tricks your students may like is a simple foam. One of the easiest ways of this is by  adding bloomed jello to a bowl with your liquid of choice and whisking to a froth on top  of an ice bath. once your froth starts setting poor into a container and chill.  After its been chilled you can just scoop it out and use or eat. I know they're more harder complicated ways to make a foam out there but I think  in using simple ways that the student can access at home will get them more enthusiastic  than having to order all these specialty items.


You can use the xanthan Gum to thicken sauces  to keep the flavor with out reducing or adding a roue or other thickener.

you can use Agar Agar to create jello type noodles and many other neat things.


Once you decide on what you plan on doing you should team up with a science teacher and you could make a class of it so both  classes are learning something new and it may get more people in to cooking.


Ps: Sorry if its a bit rambled this is my first post here.

post #9 of 10
Welcome htarko! I absolutely agree with what you say approaching 'molecular gastronomy' from a fundamentalist view. On the terms gastronomy and molecular gastronomy each of the books referenced above have something or a lot too say on the meaning or etymology but essentially gastronomy is a broad term referring to the study of food and eating that's been in use for over two hundred years. Molecular gastronomy -to hear Harold McGee say it- was a term coined by a scholar by the name of Kurti simply so that other scholars would take them seriously and allow a discussion of food to be the topic at the Erice workshops. McGee doesn't like the term, Adria doesn't like the term either even though these men are basically the leading referance writers on the subject. I feel it's a term that pretty basically explains this avant garde movement of using hydrocolloids, gelling agents and other innovative chemical products being used today, as well as essentially the only term we have to explain treating cooking as a science than as a form of art or sustenance. On the use of these philosophies in school, school is not the real work realm, it is meant to give you the tools and basic knowledge of how to approach real work situations so while it would be nice if schools taught repetition as well as curriculum but frankly that's spmething that takes years. Why wouldn't a culinary school teacher want to arm hus students with techniques and the knowledge of ingrediants already in use in kitchens around the world. Escoffier taught rouxs and slurries as thickeners, I have a dozen more thickeners and emulsifiers with more pleasant organic textures and feel. Soesje, you say you want them to THINK about how things work and why..., but mcgees on food and cooking approaches that from a molecular level and explains exactly the chemical reactions that are transforming your food- oil is lighter than water that's why gravity seperates them, browning is an occurance of the mail lard reaction which is Carmelites proteins left when all the water has evaporated, etc.
post #10 of 10
I agree completely and that's how I feel about cooking if I don't know something I always aim to find out why something works like it does. I think every one should know the basic science behind cooking. The more you know and understand the better you can create.
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