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Archive for the ‘chef’ Category

Here is an interview with Chris Young – one of the authors of Modernist Cuisine.
He was a biochemist and mathematician who decided the kitchen was the place for him!

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Found this older article on chemistry at the bar via Carbon Based Curiosities blog.
Seems some bartender/chefs are using chemistry to create oddities for their cocktails:

the house vodka martini is garnished with a lollipop — a lollipop made from “reduced olive brine, olive flavoring and salt crystallized in isomalt” that is stuffed with blue cheese, according to its creator, Eben Klemm. The restaurant’s house manhattan is made with leather-infused bourbon, sweet vermouth and a bitters-spiked maraschino purée, dropped into the drink as a liquid that coalesces into a “gumdrop” when it hits the side of the glass.

And they are not just using kitchen chemistry either – talk about high tech – they are using LASERS!

One chef who has gotten in on the act is Homaru Cantu at Moto in Chicago.

Mr. Cantu uses a grade-school science trick — baking soda plus acid equals fizz — for his Fizzing & Foaming Hurricane and a very not-grade-school trick involving a Class 4 laser, typically used for military experiments and eye surgery, according to Mr. Cantu, and a vanilla bean to “caramelaserize” a wineglass — that is, to coat it with the flavor of vanilla — before filling it with red wine and pairing the altered wine with a beef course on his restaurant’s tasting menu.”

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Use your chemistry knowledge in the kitchen?
Here are some articles on doing just that:

Food 2.0: Chefs as chemists
By Kenneth Chang Published: November 6, 2007

Chefs are using science not only to better understand their cooking, but also to create new ways of cooking. Elsewhere, chefs have played with lasers and liquid nitrogen. Restaurant kitchens are sometimes outfitted with equipment adapted from scientific laboratories. And then there are hydrocolloids that come in white bottles like chemicals.

Chef becomes chemist
‘Molecular’ food surprises with its intense flavours
Ron Eade, CanWest News Service
Published: Wednesday, April 18

Molecular gastronomy is a term coined in the late 1980s by Herve This, a French scientist, and Nicholas Kurti, a professor of physics at Oxford University. Both men were interested in the chemistry of food preparation, so they dissected popular recipes from cookbooks and examined the culinary techniques in each with all the scientific attention one might lavish on nuclear fission.

Molecular gastronomy is a trendy pursuit where odd combinations and presentations are deliberately theatrical, and every bit contrived.

Molecular gastronomy is flamboyant with its bold use of centrifuges, desiccators, liquid nitrogen and super-blenders to make foams, jellies and globules that are as flavourful as they are far-out.

Atomic chefs
Two B.C. chocolatiers are pioneers in a revolutionary food movement called molecular gastronomy

by ANNE KINGSTON | Feb 13, 2006

Holding a degree in physics or chemistry opens doors for today’s aspiring chefs. Alison Fryer, the manager of Toronto’s Cookbook Store, says when the store opened in 1983 the most prominent chefs — Anne Rosenzweig and Mark Miller — came from backgrounds in anthropology. “Now it’s all coming out of the lab,” she says.

and if you read this far and are still intrigued, here is a new book from Herve This (mentioned above):

Kitchen Mysteries:
Revealing the Science of Cooking

by Herve This
Translated by Jody Gladding

Hervé This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. He is the author of Columbia’s Molecular Gastronomy and of several other books on food and cooking. He is a monthly contributor to Pour la Science, the French-language edition of Scientific American.

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