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Moleculary Gastronomy


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Lampreia comes to mind as the closest thing Seattle has to the molecular trend.

Although Scott dabbles with some elements of molecular gastronomy, any time you ask him about it, he swears that he's not interested in the scientific stuff.

As LMF said, no one is really doing it full-on, there are some affectations of it, but no commitment to it. It's still even very rare to see sous-vide on a menu.

I've ranted about this issue and some of its causes, before.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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^Some places do sous-vide, they just don't mention it on the menu. I agree with what everyone's said--there's not any real molecular gastronomy restaurant in Seattle. And because foams and deconstructed items have become ubiquitous for a few years, I think most chefs just regard them as part of their repetoire as opposed to something trendy.

Edited by Ling (log)
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What is this sous-vide everyone keeps referring too?

Wikipedia quote "French for "under vacuum", is a method of cooking that is intended to maintain the integrity of ingredients by heating them for an extended period of time at relatively low temperatures. Food is cooked for a long time, sometimes well over 24 hours. But unlike a slow cooker, sous-vide cooking uses airtight plastic bags placed in hot water well below boiling point (Usually around 60°C = 140°F)."

edited to add that I don't consider sous vide as molecular gastronomy as it doesn't "change" the make up of the ingrediants yet just cooks them better in most cases resulting in a nice texture and flavor

Edited by little ms foodie (log)
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edited to add that I don't consider sous vide as molecular gastronomy as it doesn't "change" the make up of the ingrediants yet just cooks them better in most cases resulting in a nice texture and flavor

Damn, does this mean I have to put away my lab coat when I do sous vide?

Rocky

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edited to add that I don't consider sous vide as molecular gastronomy as it doesn't "change" the make up of the ingrediants yet just cooks them better in most cases resulting in a nice texture and flavor

True. It's just that I think sous-vide is a gateway technique, kind of like marijuana is a gateway drug. :laugh: Like so many other terms that get thrown around 'molecular gastronomy' is poorly defined.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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edited to add that I don't consider sous vide as molecular gastronomy as it doesn't "change" the make up of the ingrediants yet just cooks them better in most cases resulting in a nice texture and flavor

True. It's just that I think sous-vide is a gateway technique, kind of like marijuana is a gateway drug. :laugh: Like so many other terms that get thrown around 'molecular gastronomy' is poorly defined.

when i was at wd-50, we used the vacuum bag technique for things other than cooking...i guess i can't give away any secrets, but definitely molecular gastronomy. plus, what's more food science-y than immersion circulators???

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edited to add that I don't consider sous vide as molecular gastronomy as it doesn't "change" the make up of the ingrediants yet just cooks them better in most cases resulting in a nice texture and flavor

Damn, does this mean I have to put away my lab coat when I do sous vide?

Rocky

No I think you look cute in your lab coat (enter evil laugh here!)

True.  It's just that I think sous-vide is a gateway technique, kind of like marijuana is a gateway drug.  :laugh:  Like so many other terms that get thrown around 'molecular gastronomy' is poorly defined.

agreed and as with most things everyone has their levels of distinction. to some who may not have ever had sous vide that may very well be considered molecular to them- then again if you've never had a properly made cocktail you may think vanilla stoli and soda is the creme de la creme! :wink:

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In the 70's we used to use a seal a meal at home, so to me it kind of reminds me of '70's cooking, and something that came back again... like fondue. :biggrin:

But, I know it's not exactly like seal a meal cooking, because we never cooked it at low temps for extended periods of time.

I recently had the strip loin entree cooked sous vide at Union. I wasn't that crazy about it... it was fine, but not as good as a char broiled/grilled steak cooked the way I like, or even a good prime rib roast, but hubby raved about it.

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Marc,

You work at Palisades and want to go to the CIA? You better start learning about this stuff now!

That's exactly the idea my friend................ uh, how do you know where I work?

Seriously?

Edited by LEdlund (log)

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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when i was at wd-50, we used the vacuum bag technique for things other than cooking...i guess i can't give away any secrets, but definitely molecular gastronomy.  plus,  what's more food science-y than immersion circulators???

I moved from Seattle this past Fall to NYC so I could attend culinary school and then work in the city for a few years before returning to Seattle. I'm staging at WD-50 right now in the pastry kitchen. Sous vide is widely used at WD-50 but is just one of many advanced culinary techniques that are being used (and developed) in the kitchen.

The term "Molecular Gastronomy" was dreamt up by Herve This and Nicholas Kurti in the early 90's as way to get the attention of research institutes so they would have someone to pay for their work. Most of the people on the forefront of cooking, the people who are developing these new techniques, don't like the term Molecular Gastronomy and try to distance themselves from it. What's a better term? Who knows?

I just saw Herve This speak at my school and it is his opinion that "Molecular Gastronomy" is dead because it has become part of the popular lexicon. So, of course, he is trying to invent a term for the next wave and labeling it "Culinary Constructivism." Whatever. It just comes down to making food as delicious as possible. I am as ardent of a supporter of this culinary movement as any, but I think too many times flavor gets lost in the fray. Too many times something is done just for the sake of novelty/uniqueness and the chef loses focus on the deliciousness of the dish. I think this statement says it better than any other --

Statement on the new cookery

As for the topic of the original post, I am not aware of anywhere in Seattle that is really pushing the boundaries of cooking. Hopefully, I can bring a little of it with me when I come back to Seattle.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Of course Herve This is a pioneer of food science, but to say that molecular gastronomy is dead due to the popularity comes across to me as a blanketed pompous ass statement. There is so much more to be done in this field. I mean there are endless applications and even if they are eventually tapped does that mean there will be nothing new or innovative that will piggyback from the success of MG. Again what is MG but another medium of cooking. It is not as if science is a new player in the food world. Pastry and baking is pure science. Even the art of cooking breakfast comes down to science. As a young chef I always wanted to know why things happen and that really pinpoints what this whole culture is about. What can we as chefs do to manipulate and push the envelope of the natural properties of food and how can we make it better, moister more flavorful etc?? As I make my next business plan it is pure wd-50 style science and I love it. It is just so damn fascinating and the end result is a great product if done with care and passion. FORK used a lot of MG but we just did not flaunt it. I have tasted some pretty rough and tough cuts of meat that came out like butter using sous vide alone. Throughout food history things have come and gone, but technique usually holds form. Is MG dead? Seems to be a funny statement. Yes, maybe there are a lot of food people who have gravitated to using these techniques, but how few have really done it well and with great imagination. The number there is pretty low. With the way we abuse our natural resources on this planet, I would not be surprised if in the future we all had lab kitchens and cooking everything with liquid nitrogen, sous vide and anti-griddles while wearing hazmat suits. Its a new world lets embrace it.

Scotty :wub:

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As I make my next business plan it is pure wd-50 style science and I love it.

When do you start taking reservations?!?! :biggrin:

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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