Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Molecular Gastronomy


chefjustinbasta
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have researched molecular gastronomy to the point of mental meltdowns. With that, I am finding it hard to make a transition, or break into this field; and fully turn knowledge into pragmatic application. I have knowledge of the ingredients, processes, and scientific reactions but find it hard to actually go full force into this "new age" cuisine. Do i hire chemists, chemical physicists, a think tank of chefs as well? I have many ideas and try to utilize what i have learned and transfer it into my daily work but come up short. How does a restaurant like Moto in Chicago go from cooking to using class 4 lasers and anti griddles? There is a HUGE gap. Where is it? I am asking anyone for any thoughts, advice or direction so that i may further myself and achieve what i have in mind.

thank you,

chef justin basta

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have researched molecular gastronomy to the point of mental meltdowns.  With that, I am finding it hard to make a transition, or break into this field; and fully turn knowledge into pragmatic application.  I have knowledge of the ingredients, processes, and scientific reactions but find it hard to actually go full force into this "new age" cuisine.  Do i hire chemists, chemical physicists, a think tank of chefs as well?  I have many ideas and try to utilize what i have learned and transfer it into my daily work but come up short.  How does a restaurant like Moto in Chicago go from cooking to using class 4 lasers and anti griddles?  There is a HUGE gap.  Where is it?  I am asking anyone for any thoughts, advice or direction so that i may further myself and achieve what i have in mind. 

thank you,

chef justin basta

Chef,

I don't know if switch to molecular gastronomy is at all justified. It's very much in-fashion right now - no doubt, but I question if it's going to be just that ... a fashionable trend, and, like many other trends, a short-lived one at best.

Molecular gastronomy is impressive, indeed. So are other chemical experiments... Quite frankly, MG is "edible chemistry" in it's earnest, but I just don't see a family having dinner at a lab table, and I don't see chemicals at a festive gathering with food and wine... except, perhaps fireworks.

So, why should we cook on anti-griddles, use liquid nitrogen, and jelly-foam everything??? I don't think we should....

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chef,

I don't know if switch to molecular gastronomy is at all justified.  It's very much in-fashion right now - no doubt, but I question if it's going to be just that ... a fashionable trend, and, like many other trends, a short-lived one at best.

Molecular gastronomy is impressive, indeed. So are other chemical experiments... Quite frankly, MG is "edible chemistry" in it's earnest, but I just don't see a family having dinner at a lab table, and I don't see chemicals at a festive gathering with food and wine... except, perhaps fireworks.

So, why should we cook on anti-griddles, use liquid nitrogen, and jelly-foam everything???  I don't think we should....

The route in this field i am taking is more about the science of flavor and not so much the grandure of elaborate levitating lentils. I am more interested in food synergies and flavor assimilations. Flavor pairings if you will using new processes and scientific steps in doing so. Textures are able to be played with as well and its not so much of "i want to be new and different" thing, its more of how and ingredient can progress when scientific processes are applied that were never even explored. Take for instance sous vide cooking and no malliard reaction. What if there was a way for sous vide cooking to have the flavor and color of malliard reaction........, that sort of thing. Yes i am interested in the whole "fad" type of the cuisine but i would like to learn that as a base and transform IT .

Something in my head along the lines of using something for the good like a superpower if you will (sorry best parallel i could think of.) I know molec gastronomy has many negative connotations but if used correctly i belive it can benefit food. I am happily open to any and all opinions and i certainly value yours, its just i feel that food, espically in fusion cooking is progressing and i think that fusion at its best can be used as a base to move foward again.

any thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take for instance sous vide cooking and no malliard reaction.  What if there was a way for sous vide cooking to have the flavor and color of malliard reaction........, that sort of thing. 

This is why we cook some items in 2 or more stages, combining different techniques. In the case of sous-vide cooking, we'll cook it at low temperature first, then take it out of the bag and grill/sear it. Or maybe we'll sear it first, then cook it sous-vide, then take it out and glaze it. And so on.

Honestly, I'm not that fond of novelty. I mean, I'll use plenty of modern techniques in my cooking, make use of all my know-how, but I prefer simple, hearty, down to earth dishes. I grew up quite poor, so for me it's important when I do go out and do my own restaurant, that it be accessible.

That being said, how do you get into the 'scene'? Own your own restaurant, create hype around yourself, market yourself, and hope your 'creations' are as tasty as they are wierd. Oh yeah, and become a pastry chef. Seriously. Understanding pastry techniques is huge. So much of this 'style' of cuisine borrows from the pastry side of things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take for instance sous vide cooking and no malliard reaction.  What if there was a way for sous vide cooking to have the flavor and color of malliard reaction........, that sort of thing. 

This is why we cook some items in 2 or more stages, combining different techniques. In the case of sous-vide cooking, we'll cook it at low temperature first, then take it out of the bag and grill/sear it. Or maybe we'll sear it first, then cook it sous-vide, then take it out and glaze it. And so on.

Honestly, I'm not that fond of novelty. I mean, I'll use plenty of modern techniques in my cooking, make use of all my know-how, but I prefer simple, hearty, down to earth dishes. I grew up quite poor, so for me it's important when I do go out and do my own restaurant, that it be accessible.

That being said, how do you get into the 'scene'? Own your own restaurant, create hype around yourself, market yourself, and hope your 'creations' are as tasty as they are wierd. Oh yeah, and become a pastry chef. Seriously. Understanding pastry techniques is huge. So much of this 'style' of cuisine borrows from the pastry side of things.

The "scene" is great but again i am really interested in food as a whole on a scientific level. Pastry is indeed one of the staples when it comes to techniques that are able to be applied to many dishes both sweet and savory. I just think maybe i phrased my question or inquery the wrong way.

Maybe i should be more of a lab chef that tests dishes in test kitchens for large companys for extreme volume? I absolutely love what i do but i am extremely fasinated by the science... action, reaction, why, how do i take this information and be able to apply to new? .... thoughts????? ...........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A concrete suggestion: Start playing with new textures. Perhaps familiar tastes but presented in a new textural form. Combine that with some unusual flavour pairings and some new tableware and you are halfway there. :wink:

I don't really know if there is a thing like molecular gastronomy cuisine. Rather it is a range of techniques that you can use for whatever purpose suits you.

Edited by TheSwede (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you'd have an easier time figuring out what to do if you laid out some goals. Start with a mission statement, figure out what it is that you are trying to accomplish.

It seems to me that several different practices get lumped into the term molecular gastronomy:

1. Gaining an understanding of the science of cooking and flavor and then using that knowledge to do what you've always done, but do it better.

2. Combing flavors that aren't typically associated with each other.

3. Changing the texture of food in unexpected ways.

Once you know where you want to go, you can start playing with recipes from there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The "scene" is great but again i am really interested in food as a whole on a scientific level.

Have you considered doing a university degree or certificate program in food science? If it's really the science you're interested in - and not the culinary applications, or "scene" - that might be the most efficient (though not necessarily the most cost-effective) approach.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may be off here, but my suggestion is to use what you know and incorporate creative new techniques where they fit into what you are good at cooking. Just opening a molecular gastronomy restaurant for the sake of it seems too trendy and silly. The food at Alenia, WD-50, El Bulli and Cellar Can Roca all tastes different and takes on the style of the chef. Do they use new techniques, chemicals and lab equipment? Yes, but they also have a style, whether is Catalan or French, Tapa or Fusion.

I cook in the home and I am always interested in something new, so I read and learn about molecular gastronomy. Is my style of cooking molecular, no, but I did serve a amuse of melon spheres with jamon powder before my roast chicken with dried fruits. I could have served melon wrapped with jamon serano, a classic, but I used a new technique to mix it up. This does not answer your question, but might be relevant to the way you are thinking.

Molecular gastronomy, has always been around, it is just a buzz word now because many newer great restaurants are having fun discovering and featuring new textures and flavors. When the label molecular gastronomy restaurant fades, the techniques will still be around and we will all be better off, even if we had to try some cuttlefish noodles with liquorish foam and uni powder. Hmm that sounds kind of good, off to the kitchen.

Nate

Edited by nhconner (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have many doubts about how long molecular gastronomy is going to last on the top of things to do in the kitchen. Should we all switch to MG, or should we let our own skills, talent and creativity lead us some place else? An unchartered territory, perhaps? Better yet, why not try to perfect one, may be two dishes? Better still, there is food that is simply forever, why not improve that?

One thing is certain to me - I don't need a chemist in the kitchen. I want to cook from my heart.

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing is certain to me - I don't need a chemist in the kitchen. I want to cook from my heart.

I don't think one excludes the other. It's possible to use the latest equipment, ingredients, techniques, flavor combinations, etc. from the heart and it's also possible to bang out classic dishes without caring at all. Restaurants that focus mainly on the wow factor of it all may or may not fall victim to the trends but the ideas they are making happen will influence the food world for a long time to come in my opinon. Although, I sincerely hope I never see a McFoie with Cheese Caviars and supersize French Fry Consomme with Ketchup Foam.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing is certain to me - I don't need a chemist in the kitchen. I want to cook from my heart.

I don't think one excludes the other. It's possible to use the latest equipment, ingredients, techniques, flavor combinations, etc. from the heart and it's also possible to bang out classic dishes without caring at all. Restaurants that focus mainly on the wow factor of it all may or may not fall victim to the trends but the ideas they are making happen will influence the food world for a long time to come in my opinon. Although, I sincerely hope I never see a McFoie with Cheese Caviars and supersize French Fry Consomme with Ketchup Foam.

Well put try2cook. Exactly. I again am not trying to follow trends. I am just trying to use exact science in order to achieve spot on results. For instance a chapter on "Softening Lentils" by Herve' This in his book "Molecular Gastronomy the Science of Flavor" discusses the processes of achieving a perfect lentil by using exact sciences. It discusses the hardness of water and how to change that to achieve perfection using Sodium Bicarbonates & time and tempature rules discussing exact tempatures that directly effect the proportion of lentils that are ruptured to the lentils left intact varying on the tempatures involed and the time it took in order to "cook" the lentils themselvs. When applied this can be very useful as you can precisely dertimine using EXACT SCIENCES when your "lentils" are finished.... this is without worry or done with checks apon checks of your product for consistancy. Is that a "trend"????? No. Is that trial by error, yes. It enables me to go to work in the morning, set my lentils to temp and maybe even time via timer and it leaves me with no back of the mind worry allowing me to work on other things & being able to come back to perfection. I think somone above was right when they suggested a food sciences degree for me. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  Take for instance sous vide cooking and no malliard reaction.  What if there was a way for sous vide cooking to have the flavor and color of malliard reaction........, that sort of thing.

You may have done a lot of research, but not enough. A maillard reaction happens a much lower temperatures than you think. You can achieve a maillard reaction using sous vide technology. Check out La Cocina al Vacio by Joan Roca and Salvador Brugues for further information.

Edited by wallchef (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You may have done a lot of research, but not enough. A malliard reaction happens a much lower temperatures than you think. You can achieve a malliard reaction using sous vide technology. Check out La Cocina al Vacio by Joan Roca and Salvador Brugues for further information.

I was always under the impression that Maillard reactions required temperatures above the boiling point of water, but my handy-dandy copy of McGee's On Food and Cooking says that this is not always the case. Interesting! I learned something today. :biggrin:

In any case, the Joan Roca and Salvador Brugués book appears to be available in English translation under the title Sous Vide Cuisine.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By Anonymous Modernist 16589
      I'm looking to buy some new pots and pans and would like to tap into your knowledege and experiance with them. Which pans tend to yield the best and most consistant results. Same for pots. Any and all recommendations would be greatly appriciated, thank you in advance.
      Herman 8D
    • By Doodad
      Has anybody tried making a dark roux in a pressure cooker? Can this be done without scortching do you think? I have made roux in the oven before and started wondering about this topic.
    • By kostbill
      I really want to improve the flavor of my chicken breast so I want to try to inject brine with fat and flavors.
       
      I would like to try brining with some hydrocolloids. The one example I found is this: https://torontofoodlab.com/2013/08/20/meat-tenderizing-with-a-carrageenan-brine/.
       
      However I cannot apply that to my chicken breast because I am cooking it sous vide, so the chicken will not reach the temperature needed for the carrageenan to gel.
       
      I am thinking of using Methyl cellulose, first disperse in hot water, then leave it for 24 hours in the fridge, then add salt, fat and flavors and inject it.
      I am afraid that until it reaches the 50C or 60C that the Methyl cellulose needs in order to gel, the liquid will escape.
      Any ideas?
      Thanks.
    • By Anonymous Modernist 760
      Thanks for putting up this forum 🙂
      I would like to bake using a combination of sous vide and a conventional oven. Would it be possible to put the dough in a vacuum bag cook it sous vide at 37C for the dough to raise optimal and then put it in a conventional oven?
      Thanks
    • By swpeterson
      I have been buying country style bone-in ribs instead of bone-in pork chops. I season them with a rub very similar to Emeril's Rustic Rub spice rub and use a heaping tablespoon a rendered Nueskie's Applewood smoked bacon fat in the Food Saver vacumn bag. We have been using 2 ribs in the bag but have made the decision to switch to one to split. The meat is so rich and flavorful that we can easily split one and enjoy the meal even more.
      For a sauce, I cobbled together a sauce made with the juice of half a valencia orange, the pulp from 1 passion fruit, 1 cup pitted cherries (I used rainiers and bings in this one), 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup white wine, juice from 1 lime, 2 tsp honey, garlic cloves crushed (I used roasted garlic that I keep in the fridge and 'crushed' them in my 'special' coffee grinder(2)) and 1 medium sized shallot. I used the same bacon fat to soften the shallots, then added the rest of the ingredients and let it reduce by about a third and then let it rest and reheated it when the pork ribs were done.
      I kept them in the sous vide at 141 from 10:00 AM until I got home from work at 7:00. It took another half hour +/- to change clothes, pour a glass of wine, reheat the sauce, make a salad, and heat up the garlic bread that I keep prepped in the freezer. After the bread was heated for about 8 minutes, I switched the oven to broil and took the bread out of the oven.
      I have started to experiment with using the broiler element to put color on the proteins that I have cooked in the sous vide. I have placed the oven rack on the third rack from the top, leave the door ajar while I bring the broiler element up to heat. I use my 10" stainless steel saute pan with a stainless steel rack in the pan for the protein. I open the sous vide package and pour the liquid that has accumulated in the bag into the bottom of the pan. I put the ribs, fattest side up on the rack and place the pan in the oven. I leave the door ajar and let them stay in there for 8 mnutes.
      That timing has worked extremely well for both the ribs and the chicken that I have done. I don't flip them yet and that hasn't been necessary for those 2 proteins. (I was much less successful with this formula for the flank steak which I think needs to be closer the heat source for less time).
      At any rate, the broiler is working well for color and the meat and sauce are great. The sauce also works very well with chicken. Haven't tried it yet with the salmon.
      Just wanted to share as I really love this sous vide thing and wanted to share.
      Sorry no photos yet. I haven't figured that part out yet but my husband promises to teach me.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...