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San Diego Molecular Gastronomy

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Hi, is there any classes or events that I could learn about Molecular Gastronomy in the San Diego area? If not, I wouldnt mind traveling to orange county, riverside, palm springs too. thanks!

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  1. There is nothing in SD regarding classes (even though a little bit of the technique for their cooking). Sur La Table in LA has every few months a Molecular Gastronomy class. Teh next one is 02/15/2010

    http://cookingclasses.surlatable.com/...

    1 Reply
    1. re: honkman

      Thank you!

    2. That's a tough sell in SD. I know 9/10's Garde Manager station plays with quite a few techniques. Maybe (big maybe) you could convince them to let you in one day to observe.

      Below is a very cool site to check out if you are really interested in learning the techniques and aren't shy on practicing at home. I've tried quite a few things I learned there that have worked very well. You can even buy the chemicals to do all the basic reactionary stuff through the site too. Youtube also has a lot of pretty good instructional videos to check out that help understanding the applications. Good luck.

      khymos.org

      1 Reply
      1. re: mjill

        Thanks, I will check it out!

      2. Not to my knowledge. Not even sure of any restaurants that bust it out.

        Check back in 5-10 years.

        16 Replies
        1. re: stevewag23

          Kitchen 1540 is including MG in their menus. El Bizcocho when Steven Rojas was running it was an obvious place for MG in SD.

          1. re: honkman

            Good tips.

            1. re: honkman

              An interesting point about El Bizchoco since it was brought up. Rojas' limited time there KILLED their business. Traditionally they catered to an older, less adventerous crowd. When he rolled in with the MG techniques he drove off the regulars. After all, who that would be interested in MG that actually lived in the area or would drive the 30 mintues to go? Correct, next to zero. The place used to be thee spot in SD. Sad to see the Lion kicked out of the pride. They recent;y shook up the kitchen staff, hopefully it worked. I used to love the place.

              1. re: mjill

                Interesting. I can't say I am shocked either.

                1. re: mjill

                  Your comment sounds like Rojas killed the business at El Bizchoco and that it was his fault which I disagree. You hire a well-respected chef for a restaurant because this chef has a certain philosophy which you like and you don't ask the chef to change his way of cooking but that he implements his style. (Or would you hire Thomas Keller to run a high end chinese restaurant). Rojas background was well known and quite heavy on MG (Berasategui etc.) and nobody should have been surprised with his changes to the kitchen of El Biz. (It sounds like people are used to go to a specific piano bar which suddenly decided to hire Metallica and now everybody is suprised that they play Heavy Metal instead of piano music. I wouldn't call that Metallica's fault). Overall I think that SD (and El Biz) missed a great opportunity with Steven Rojas to have somebody really creative and not mainstream in town.

                  1. re: honkman

                    I wonder if he would have done better in downtown or uptown?

                    Or la jolla?

                    Thoughts?

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      He might have lasted 12 weeks instead of 7 weeks at El Biz

                      1. re: honkman

                        Ha

                    2. re: honkman

                      Don't take what I said about Rojas as a bash on him. For the most part I like his food. However, you don't roll into a place like El Biz, where the average age of the clientelle is late 50's or older, meat and potatoes definitely not adventerous crowd and out of the gate start dropping courses like strawberry gazpacho and gel egg filled with apple and rosemary liquid or Vidalia onion bisque with a slice of manchego cheese and a gold leaf-wrapped slow poached duck egg. I've had that soup and I will without a doubt say putting a slow poached egg into a bisque is a nightmarishly ghastly dish. When you break that egg up it literally turns the consistency of the bisque into a bowl of chunky snot. I couldn't believe it when I had it and it makes me shutter thinking about it now. I think baby steps would have served him better and since he was out after 2 months or so, I'd say history agrees with me.

                      Bottom line, he did drive off their regulars (the 50's/60's aged golfer/retired) and they've had a heck of a time trying to lure them back. Don't believe me? Go to the resturant to eat and ask the wait staff yourself. I did and this is what was told to me by their staff as they motioned to the other 6 customers they had on a Saturday night. I've eaten there before, during and after his stay. The place isn't nearly the same it once was pre-Rojas. When was the last time you ate there? Did you visit when Rojas was there?

                      I think he might have been able to carve out a nice niche in the Banker's Hill/Hillcrest area potentially as the people in this area skew a little more to late 20's/30's/40's crowd and a bit more willing to give something a shot. I think he'd run into the same issues in La Jolla that he did in Rancho Bernardo.

                      1. re: mjill

                        bummer that we didn't make it there when Rojas was still around!

                        1. re: mjill

                          I don't disagree that he drove regulars away but I think the mistake of the management from El Biz was that they didn't seriously try to advertise him in SD as one of the leading guys for a "new" cuisine. My expectations when I heard that they hired him was that they wanted to attract completely new customers and didn't care about the regulars. Unfortunately they only did the first step (hiring him) but than left him alone and didn't support him.
                          And no, he was so fast out that I didn't have a chance to eat when he was there but the bisque sounds very good and reminds me about Bistro LQ, one of my current favorite restaurants.
                          And I don't think he would have survived in Banker's Hill/Hillcrest (or any where else in SD) much longer.

                          1. re: honkman

                            Rojas had interesting food, and yes their business is way down,but don't write off the El Bizcocho. The RB Inn's ownership has a long history of hiring excellent chefs: Andre Mena, Christian Gaborit, Jacques Cornelis, Patrick Ponsetay, Gavin Kaysen etc. Rojas was a mistake. They will be back.

                            1. re: buzznutter

                              I agree. I play to head back around April/May as that will have given them plenty of time to work out the kinks with the new staff. Last time I went, because the food was terrible, they gave me a coupon for 2 free dinners. I will say that their service has never failed me and has always been top notch, which is why I haven't written them totally off.

                  2. re: stevewag23

                    I think we can all agree that san diego isn't a Molecular Gastronomy stronghold.

                    1. re: stevewag23

                      Molecular Gastronomy isn't a stronghold only in SD but is quite weak in California in general compared to east coast, Chicago and Europe

                      1. re: honkman

                        I know it doesn't have much to do with anything, but the term "molecular gastronomy" does not sound very appetizing. 99% of the time you see the "gastro" prefix in the US, it usually is for something not so good.

                  3. There is a MG conference his week in SD at the Art Institute in Mission Valley. H. Alexander Talbot, who is one of the bigger named guys in this medium, will be essentially headlining and doing a bunch of demos. I managed to get an invite, so not sure of ticketing information, ect. Definitely worth checking out if you can.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mjill

                      Please do a post about your experience at the MG conference. I happen to be in the 50s age range you bashed above. I am certainly not averse to MG and would like to know what's new in that field

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        LOL...;> DD, something tells me you are 50 going on 29....

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          Will do and sorry if I offended you, it wasn't intentional nor was it meant as a bash to your age group. The people who used to be regulars (50/60's crowd) at el biz definitely where not too interested in these types of techniques.

                          1. re: mjill

                            You must have missed the memo...50 is the new 30 ;-D

                      2. I not as cutting edge as Josh or some of the other posters on this board are, but isn't
                        MG getting a bit passe now? I watched Top Chef this past season and while there were some MG techniques, there was no full blown MG chef as in years past. Where are you now Marcel? I think that the El Biz discussion is interesting but I thgink that it was not a good marriage from the get go. The food can be very good out in RB, but it is not cutting edge. I think if El Biz wanted to change direction they should of gone more farm to table kind of thing like they do so well at AR valentine. By the by I hear the Cohn's are opening up a MG restaurant that will be more accesiable to the masses, heh.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: littlestevie

                          "By the by I hear the Cohn's are opening up a MG restaurant that will be more accesiable to the masses, heh."

                          Sounds like a brick in the making.

                          1. re: littlestevie

                            Marcel is sous chef at the bazaar and just hosted a dinner at bread bar that sold out in a day. You can not deny his talent. He worked under Joel Robuchon the chef of the century!

                            1. re: SDGourmand

                              Very True.

                            2. re: littlestevie

                              MG is a tool like many other things in the culinary world (like braising, sous-vide etc. etc.) As with every tool you can you use it in a good way to improve things or make things worse. MG is not better or worse (or passe) than any other tool for a chef.