HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >

If this is an example of things to come......

mucho gordo Feb 18, 2011 10:33 AM

then, when that happens, I'll never set foot in another restaurant.
I watched ICA last night with Cantu and Morimoto. I couldn't believe what was going on. Alton got it right when he referred to it as sci-fi. I've seen them use liquid nitrogen before but syringes, pipettes, edible paper. etc.?????????? C'mon now; that sort of thing makes no sense to me. It's silliness and the results didn't look all that appealing to me regardless of what the judges said.
Ok, so I'm a dinosaur. The 'old fashioned' method of cooking has endured for 1000's of years and produced the most wonderful foods so, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. f
    ferret RE: mucho gordo Feb 18, 2011 11:42 AM

    "If this is an example of things to come......"

    It may well be an example of things to come to smaller towns but major markets have been exposed to molecular gastronomy for years - for better or worse. It can range from silliness to drawing the best qualities out of ingredients and re-working our expectations. On this week's episode of Bizarre Foods they visited my hometown, Chicago, and the Kitchen at Alinea, for several years now ranked as one of the top 5 restaurants worldwide (and some of the other top-ranked restaurants are also known for such techniques). If you can catch it you can get a little of the thought processes behind the "silliness."

    Harvard also ran a series of lectures on how science is playing a greater role in food cuisine today (and has been for the 1000's of years of cooking, but few people really understood how it worked):

    http://itunes.apple.com/itunes-u/scie...

    4 Replies
    1. re: ferret
      mucho gordo RE: ferret Feb 18, 2011 12:00 PM

      AHA! So that's what molecular gastronomy is. It was very unappealing to me. Hopefully it's just another fad for the trendy types and more rational chefs will prevail.

      1. re: mucho gordo
        f
        ferret RE: mucho gordo Feb 18, 2011 12:24 PM

        To be fair, Cantu is at the extreme in the showiness aspects and Iron Chef is an entertainment show. If you can track down episodes of Heston Blumenthal's Feasts or In Search of Perfection he tends to get a little more esoteric on the subject. Feasts is a series in which he explores food from different historic eras and then breaks down or recreates the cuisine for a modern audience. His other series distills (figuratively and sometimes literally) the essence of foods and why we enjoy them analyzing smells and textures and cooking techniques.

        1. re: ferret
          jiminy RE: ferret Feb 27, 2011 04:26 PM

          Completely agree Heston is a wonderful chef, the burger episode of in search of perfection blew my mind

          1. re: jiminy
            chefathome RE: jiminy Feb 27, 2011 04:38 PM

            He has a brilliant mind. I would not expect everyone to love molecular gastronomy but many appreciate it nonetheless. I personally like it but I try to have an open mind when it comes to techniques, ingredients and so on.

            Blumenthal's "The Fat Duck Cookbook" is incredible - a fabulous read in addition to his amazing recipes. You really get a sense of what makes him tick and how his brain works. Compelling. I enjoy "Alinea" as well but Achatz does not give as much reading info in his book as Blumenthal does in his.

    2. mattstolz RE: mucho gordo Feb 18, 2011 11:51 AM

      i do wanna highlight that this was a pretty old episode of ICA. also, cantu used almost entirely techniques that he has used on his show on planet green (the show is actually not bad if youve never seen it! Futurefood). so alot of it was probably a nod to fans of chef Cantu. also, he normally just likes to highlight the scienciness of his food, hence the pipettes for serving and stuff. its all just for show and for play.

      i think its pretty cool to be able to open peoples minds to new ideas and new presentations of food personally. it always has been about nothing but taste to me... some of the tastiest stuff can just look nasty! but as long as its delicious i dont care. if someone can do that well and expand peoples imaginations with food, more power to them. i wish more people were brave enough to present and/or try food that they thought theyd be uninterested in.

      of course, you have to take that with a grain of salt from me because i am a huge science nerd, and am also a big big fan of a chef that has a sense of humor with their food.

      EDIT:
      i have to admit though, when he broke out a class four laser just to caramelize some sugar on a fried wonton, it was overkill.

      37 Replies
      1. re: mattstolz
        mucho gordo RE: mattstolz Feb 18, 2011 12:32 PM

        We agree on several points: Yes, it was an old episode. I, too, am a science nut but, I draw the line at this sort of technique; no way! When it comes to food, the traditional tried and true methods should be adhered to. Taste is all important (presentation means nothing) to me also. After all, how unappetizing can a normal plate of meat and whatever look? It wasn't only his technique, it was the preparation and choice of ingredients that did not look appealing or sapid to me.

        1. re: mucho gordo
          f
          ferret RE: mucho gordo Feb 18, 2011 01:29 PM

          All homes lacked refrigeration at the early part of the last Century and most homes lacked ovens, as well. Food preparations -and ingredients - of today would be pretty shocking to someone living in the 19th Century. Our understanding of ingredients and cooking has changed drastically in the last 150 years and, as will continue to change as technology advances. For most chefs, Cantu included, taste is all-important but how they convey the tastes varies according to each's vision. As an example, on the Bizarre Foods I referenced, Grant Achatz of Alinea was distilling a puree of Thai chiles to extract the flavor without the heat. His methodology is pure science but his goal is to emphasize flavor that might otherwise be overpowered in the original product. So by subtracting compounds or flavor profiles he's creating new flavors. That's just a single example but there are lots of chefs out there taking advantage of technology to advance our collective knowledge of foods and cooking methods.

          1. re: ferret
            mucho gordo RE: ferret Feb 18, 2011 02:40 PM

            Nicely said, ferret and I agree to a point. In your example; he's not creating a new flavor by taking the heat out of the natural flavor. The basic, natural taste of a chili pepper is going to be the same with or without heat.

            1. re: mucho gordo
              f
              ferret RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 05:38 AM

              It's not true that the taste is the same with or without heat. The heat masks a lot of the flavor so he's exposing a lot of what's hidden (like painting over a painting). It's definitely one of those "don't knock it until you've tried it" experiences.

              1. re: ferret
                mucho gordo RE: ferret Feb 20, 2011 09:55 AM

                I can't imagine a serrano tasting like anything other than a serrano, It happens to be my favorite; They are flavorful and the heat is just right. Their crunchy texture, even when cooked, makes my buds tingle.

                1. re: mucho gordo
                  f
                  ferret RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 01:09 PM

                  You're again missing the point. It's not all that different from winemaking where the concentrated flavors of teh grape and fermentation extract more complex flavors than are otherwise apparent in the grape itself. It's not about a serrano not tasting good on its own, it's about finding the universe of flavors that exist aside from the heat.

                  1. re: ferret
                    mucho gordo RE: ferret Feb 20, 2011 01:17 PM

                    the 'universe of flavors' concept is a tad esoteric for me, ferret.

          2. re: mucho gordo
            mattstolz RE: mucho gordo Feb 18, 2011 03:14 PM

            "the traditional tried and true methods should be adhered to"

            how do ya think people came up with those methods though??

            do you have problems when they use the ice cream machine instead of hand churning it?
            how about when they use the blast chiller instead of a freezer?
            the anti-griddle?
            what about sous-vide?
            Vaccuum sealing?
            the food processor instead of a knife?
            a kitchenaid instead of kneading by hand?
            spice grinder instead of mortor and pestle?

            ...sorry, i got on a roll there. but really, its kitchen stadium. they use induction stoves, IR grills, pressure cookers... state of the art is the norm there

            1. re: mattstolz
              mucho gordo RE: mattstolz Feb 19, 2011 03:58 PM

              Don't get me wrong, matt. I'm all for the modern conveniences and glad that I don't have to rub 2 sticks together in order to cook. However, I don't think I'm ready for the morsels prepared with chem. lab implements. "Keep it simple"; just give me a plate full of well prepared victuals.

              1. re: mucho gordo
                mattstolz RE: mucho gordo Feb 19, 2011 04:39 PM

                haha i actually prefer simple, grandma-taught-me-how-to-make this meals much more as well.

                but only about equal to how much i like playing devils advocate

                1. re: mattstolz
                  mucho gordo RE: mattstolz Feb 19, 2011 04:57 PM

                  I believe in giving the devil his due.
                  In short, matt, I want food prepared by a chef, not an engineer.

                  1. re: mucho gordo
                    invinotheresverde RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 02:35 AM

                    So Wylie Dufresne isn't a chef?

                    I think you may want to actually try molecular gastronomy before you poop on it. You might love it.

                    1. re: invinotheresverde
                      mucho gordo RE: invinotheresverde Feb 20, 2011 09:50 AM

                      I'll pass; Thanks. Even the name leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

                    2. re: mucho gordo
                      mattstolz RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 12:40 PM

                      i honestly think every chef has to have a little bit of engineer in them. even the most basic things like caramelization, marinading, salt and acid balance, and baking require a understanding about how elements interact with heat and other ingredients to make something that is either horrid, or absolutely delicious.

                      1. re: mattstolz
                        mucho gordo RE: mattstolz Feb 20, 2011 12:51 PM

                        Good point, matt but, how do they acquire this knowledge? Is chemistry or a similar science required to graduate the CIA?

                        1. re: mucho gordo
                          mattstolz RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 01:01 PM

                          no idea. but is the CIA the only path to becoming a chef?

                          the above mentioned chef attended the french culinary institute... does the fact that he uses sodium alginate make him less of a chef?

                          haha sorry like i said, its just too fun playing devils advocate

                          1. re: mattstolz
                            mucho gordo RE: mattstolz Feb 20, 2011 01:22 PM

                            It doesn't make him any less of a chef; just not my kind of chef.

                            1. re: mucho gordo
                              linguafood RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 01:30 PM

                              well, thankfully - nobody is forcing you to visit and/or like molecular cuisine. i've had a fabulous meal at wd-50, and thoroughly enjoyed the playfulness with which the dishes were executed. surprising textures, combinations, and beautiful flavors - a great experience.

                              1. re: mucho gordo
                                mattstolz RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 01:32 PM

                                well there ya go. however, even being the traditionalist that we are, i think that food like that served at wd~50 is something that every foodie needs to experience at some point in their lives... especially before declaring it subpar or making a decision that it is not right.

                                ive been surprised by too many foods that i didnt think i would enjoy, and have learned not to knock it till i try it. and am really looking forward to a trip to NYC or Chicago to try a place like dufrense's or cantu's

                                1. re: mattstolz
                                  mucho gordo RE: mattstolz Feb 20, 2011 01:58 PM

                                  Even as a traditionalist and as adventuresome as I am (to a point), there are some things that just do not appeal to me. It's weird; escargot and 'mountain oysters' are great. Frogs legs and rabbit...no way! I shudder at the thought of nouveaux/nouvelle cuisine so, molecular stuff isn't even a remote possibility. Go figure. There's no accounting for taste.

                                  1. re: mucho gordo
                                    invinotheresverde RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 03:58 PM

                                    It's just bizarre to me to piss on an entire method (not a random ingredient) of cooking you've never tried. Very anti-Chowhound.

                                    1. re: invinotheresverde
                                      mucho gordo RE: invinotheresverde Feb 21, 2011 08:53 AM

                                      Are you saying CH's are not very discerning? You mean I could put a plate of dog poo on your table, give it a fancy name like "Pate Grey Poop-on" and your eyes would light up? Now, THAT"S bizarre.

                                      1. re: mucho gordo
                                        linguafood RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 09:15 AM

                                        yah, and that is exactly what is served at those kind of restaurants.

                                        here's an idea - why not actually TRY something before you bash it? it might give you slightly more credibility.

                                        1. re: linguafood
                                          invinotheresverde RE: linguafood Feb 21, 2011 09:24 AM

                                          Right? I mean, we're on a food board.

                                          1. re: linguafood
                                            mucho gordo RE: linguafood Feb 21, 2011 09:27 AM

                                            Surely there must be something that just doesn't appeal to you and have no desire to taste. Will you eat anything just to say you tried it?

                                            1. re: mucho gordo
                                              linguafood RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 09:36 AM

                                              Nah. There are very few things that don't appeal to me when it comes to food, and I would most certainly actually EAT / try before I make that decision.

                                              It's like saying "i don't like swimming" without ever having been in the water.

                                              1. re: linguafood
                                                mucho gordo RE: linguafood Feb 21, 2011 10:26 AM

                                                I'm not calling you a liar, you understand, but I can't believe there is NOTHING you find unappetizing because of the way it looks or smells and form an opinion without the need to taste.

                                                1. re: mucho gordo
                                                  invinotheresverde RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                  Again, though, you're saying you couldn't possibly like a whole style of cooking, not just an ingredient or two. Big difference.

                                      2. re: mucho gordo
                                        r
                                        reatard RE: mucho gordo Feb 20, 2011 04:41 PM

                                        You're like the hominid that poo-pooed his neighbor who cooked their meat. "This meat is perfectly good the way it is. Why mess it up by burning it!"

                                        1. re: reatard
                                          mattstolz RE: reatard Feb 20, 2011 04:51 PM

                                          hahahaha!

                                          1. re: reatard
                                            mucho gordo RE: reatard Feb 21, 2011 08:54 AM

                                            Don't be absurd.

                                            1. re: mucho gordo
                                              r
                                              reatard RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 10:33 AM

                                              I could just as easily write the same thing to most of your post on this thread.

                                          2. re: mucho gordo
                                            jiminy RE: mucho gordo Feb 27, 2011 04:35 PM

                                            Wow you'll eat bull's balls no problem, but rabbit is verboten? i guess what I see here is not everything is for everyone, as an aside yes all chefs are somewhat engineers, whether they know it or not. There is an incredible amount of science that goes into cooking but it is not generally seen as science.

                            2. re: mucho gordo
                              d
                              dailybread8383 RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 11:51 PM

                              These chefs you're taking pot shots at also serve classic dishes with a high level of technique beyond all of the scientific elements... (see Grant Achatz' "Next") be open minded and study up before you pass judgement

                              1. re: mucho gordo
                                chicgail RE: mucho gordo Feb 22, 2011 03:56 AM

                                i used to dismiss molecular gastronomy by saying, "I don't want to play with my food. I want to eat it."

                                And then I ate at Alinea. Totally rocked my world and gave me a totally new perspective on what was possible to enhance the flavor, aroma and visual appeal of food.

                                That being said, Alinea's Achitz does a brilliant job of using MG so that it's not gratuitous or just manipulation for it's own sake. I've had MG that about nothing more than some chef saying "Look What I Can Do!" with chemistry and it was horrible

                                1. re: chicgail
                                  alanbarnes RE: chicgail Feb 27, 2011 09:06 PM

                                  See, there's your problem - actually eating the food. Had you simply refused to try the stuff you could still sanctimoniously reject the entire premise.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                    chicgail RE: alanbarnes Feb 28, 2011 03:47 AM

                                    That would have been an option, AB. One that many people take. Nothing better than being "right."

                                    The downside, of course, would be that I wouldn't have ever had the thrilling experience of eating all that great food that I could never have even imagined.

                        2. j
                          jarona RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 07:19 AM

                          That sort of thing is just what I call "food entertainment"--glittery, glitz. For some, I guess that is what they like *shrugs shoulders*. Personally, I would rather have a chef pay more attention to the quality of the beef, poultry, other meats--i.e. and the flavor of the food. I don't care much for this "Sci-fi" sort of thinking.

                          22 Replies
                          1. re: jarona
                            f
                            ferret RE: jarona Feb 21, 2011 07:36 AM

                            Optimally, it's all about flavor and quality. Just because one of the more playful practitioners used some theatrics on a game show doesn't mean it's all style over substance. As I noted above, El Bulli, The Fat Duck, El Celler de Can Roca and Alinea are widely regarded among the top restaurants worldwide (and there are several others just below the top). It's about emphasizing quality and flavor and expanding our overall food knowledge.

                            There are also plenty of great chefs who are also inspired by these techniques even if they don't directly employ them in their cuisine.

                            1. re: jarona
                              linguafood RE: jarona Feb 21, 2011 08:20 AM

                              Quality / flavor of ingredients used, and their playful prep aren't mutually exclusive, ya know?

                              1. re: linguafood
                                mucho gordo RE: linguafood Feb 21, 2011 10:20 AM

                                "Playful"?? My mother taught me that you never play with your food.

                                1. re: mucho gordo
                                  linguafood RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 10:26 AM

                                  Yes, you're right. Molecular cuisine is horrible, tastes like crap, and we should never change anything about the food we eat or how we eat it. Welcome to the 19th century.

                                  Snore.

                                  1. re: linguafood
                                    mucho gordo RE: linguafood Feb 21, 2011 10:35 AM

                                    It's sad that your generation not only can't accept an opinion that differs from yours but you feel compelled to ridicule.

                                    1. re: mucho gordo
                                      f
                                      ferret RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 10:45 AM

                                      It's one thing to say "it doesn't appeal to me" and end it there, but you insist on going on to say how it's a horrible trend that has no place in the food world. We get it, you neither understand nor wish to understand it. That doesn't make it silly or nonsensical or render the practitioners to be any less qualified to prepare food.

                                      1. re: mucho gordo
                                        linguafood RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 11:27 AM

                                        "My generation?" You have no clue how old I am. You, OTOH, have mentioned your age before, and you come across on this thread as the stereotypical old curmudgeon who 'just can't understand what's going on with food/kids/godknowswhatelse these days.'

                                        Though mentioning your mother as your sole point of reference with regard to food makes you sound rather childish.

                                        It is you who apparently can't accept any opinions other than your own, as you keep going on about how silly molecular cuisine is.

                                        Listen - we get it! You don't like new, modern approaches to food. DON'T EAT that stuff, then.

                                2. re: jarona
                                  mucho gordo RE: jarona Feb 21, 2011 08:54 AM

                                  Thank you, jarona

                                  1. re: mucho gordo
                                    j
                                    jarona RE: mucho gordo Feb 22, 2011 07:30 AM

                                    You're welcome. It's funny..this subject was a topic of conversation last night between me and my fiance. We had seen something on tv regarding a "foamy, dry-icey, volcanic, aurora borealisy" type dessert thingy. I dunno. It just did not look appetizing. It looked futuristic and lovely in a modern-artsy sorta way--but just not appetizing.

                                    To each his own, I suppose, but what I find more astounding than the un-appetising factor is the amount of rather hostile, angry and smug replies you are receiving in defense. of this experimental stuff.

                                    Hey. If someone doesn't care for this sci-fi way of presenting food-it is their rightful opinion. It has NOTHING TO DO WITH AGE PEOPLE!!! Nothing.

                                    I like my food traditional. Love my snails in a shell--contrary to the fact that more and more restaurants are taking them out of the shell, I'm a traditionalist and love them little snails in their rightful little shells. I like my tripe plopped on a plate with white sauce oozing off the honeycombed perfection.
                                    I love my pigs head to be perfectly roasted and placed in the middle of a plate with an apple for garnishment. I love my pigs ears fried to perfection. Yes. I'm a traditionalist.

                                    1. re: jarona
                                      linguafood RE: jarona Feb 22, 2011 07:45 AM

                                      Can you imagine? There are people who like both!!!! And they can make that assessment because they've actually tried it.

                                      It was the OP who brought age into this discussion, btw.

                                      1. re: linguafood
                                        j
                                        jarona RE: linguafood Feb 22, 2011 07:58 AM

                                        ;) You got me on that. I never even gave the folks who liked both any thought.!!!

                                        I still like being a traditionalist though..........................

                                      2. re: jarona
                                        mattstolz RE: jarona Feb 22, 2011 11:30 AM

                                        i dont think anyone even mentioned age until the OP did. however, i thought that the hostility of the replies was a little offputting too... even as someone who didnt agree with the OP.

                                        1. re: mattstolz
                                          mucho gordo RE: mattstolz Feb 25, 2011 10:05 AM

                                          I brought up the subject of age only to point out that, by and large, the older generation is comfortable with the old fashioned, traditional methods of cooking. It's what we grew up with, It;s just like music; you won't find many seniors into rap.

                                          1. re: mucho gordo
                                            paulj RE: mucho gordo Feb 25, 2011 11:32 AM

                                            I don't think they need to worry. Dennys won't be using spherification any time soon. :)

                                            1. re: mucho gordo
                                              chicgail RE: mucho gordo Feb 25, 2011 01:03 PM

                                              If I'm not an example of the "older generation," at this point, I don't know who is and I love innovation with food and technique, especially when it serves to enhance flavor, aroma, texture, etc.. That being said I don't get it about either rap or hip-hop.

                                              1. re: chicgail
                                                paulj RE: chicgail Feb 25, 2011 01:11 PM

                                                Wouldn't it make more sense to compare these modern cooking techniques to Copeland, Stravinsky or Arvo Pärt?

                                                1. re: paulj
                                                  mucho gordo RE: paulj Feb 25, 2011 02:32 PM

                                                  If modern cooking techniques ever become 'classic', it will be enjoyed by a few adherents. Unfortunately, it's the same with classical music . I don't believe there are as many adults that appreciate Copeland as those into modern stuff; especially younger people. Witness the paucity of new works in the genre.

                                                  1. re: mucho gordo
                                                    chicgail RE: mucho gordo Feb 25, 2011 02:54 PM

                                                    There is modern classical (Copland and Stavinsky are hardly new on the scene) music and then there is current popular music. By the same token, there are modern techniques of cooking that are already becoming part of a classical repertoire and there are "popular" versions of that (witness the witless foam trend). Even what Escoffier taught is no longer the standard. What is worth keeping moves into the mainstream. What was silly or trendy goes away. I assert that some MG, that which is based in thoughtful, tasteful planning will last. Other stuff will be quickly forgotten.

                                                    Here in Chicago there is a big difference between Grant Ackatz' brilliance and Horatio Moto's playing at the same game.

                                                    1. re: chicgail
                                                      mucho gordo RE: chicgail Feb 25, 2011 03:15 PM

                                                      I know Copeland and Stravinski are fairly modern but I put them in the same category as Chopin, Ravel, etal. I'd even add Yanni to the list and nobody's more modern than that.
                                                      I think you're right about what goes and what stays; we'll have to wait at least a generation to know.

                                              2. re: mucho gordo
                                                mattstolz RE: mucho gordo Feb 25, 2011 03:23 PM

                                                i dont think you have to worry about the classic techniques ever going away... these newer techniques may become more widespread, but the ones that will be utilized by more "mainstream" type chefs will probably not be the spheriphications, laser caramelizations, and edible paper ones, but the ones that really bring the essence, flavors, and smells of the ingredients to the forefront.

                                                1. re: mattstolz
                                                  mucho gordo RE: mattstolz Feb 25, 2011 03:35 PM

                                                  Oh, I don't worry about the classic techniques; just the neo 'pretenders' and, like I said, we'll have to wait a generation to see what makes the cut.

                                        2. re: jarona
                                          mattstolz RE: jarona Feb 21, 2011 10:55 AM

                                          the issue here is you are assuming that just because theyre using advanced scientific techniques that they are throwing aside the flavor in favor of the techniques, when this is just not the case. most practitioners of molecular gastronomy are doing it specifically to HIGHLIGHT the flavors of foods, and to further bring them to the forefront.

                                        3. chowser RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 09:32 AM

                                          I like my cookies made with the chemical reaction of baking soda and acid. Is that silliness? If not, where do we draw the line? Cured bacon with nitrates/nitrites?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: chowser
                                            paulj RE: chowser Feb 21, 2011 07:02 PM

                                            denaturing egg proteins with heat?

                                          2. paulj RE: mucho gordo Feb 21, 2011 07:13 PM

                                            A blog entry about 'modernist cuisine', pointing out how processed foods like pasta, bread, wine, and cheese are:
                                            http://modernistcuisine.com/2011/01/f...

                                            The author has just published a $600 6vol set on modern cooking. 'Cooking for Geeks' (O'Reilly) pointed me to this.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: paulj
                                              Pollo RE: paulj Feb 22, 2011 08:14 AM

                                              When I look at the whole "area" of MG and especially people like Cantu I think of junior high school drop-outs "discovering" modern food science/chemistry. All these techniques, methods, ingredients and equipment has been in use in commerical (i.e. industrial) applications for decades and here we have people presenting them as something totally new....and the naive public laps it up and pays for it through the nose....

                                            2. m
                                              mpjmph RE: mucho gordo Feb 22, 2011 12:08 PM

                                              I minored in chemistry as an undergrad, and while I haven't been in a lab in years, I still act very much like a chemist in my kitchen. I often think about the properties of ingredients beyond taste and texture when adapting or creating recipes, and it has served me well. Sometimes the presentation aspect of molecular gastronomy bugs me, but I can say the same for a lot of traditional formal presentations as well. In the end, I'm willing to try most things, and I'm not willing to right off an entire cuisine of movement based on an episode of Iron Chef. Also, there are times I'd kill to have a good pipette - so much easier than measuring spoons for extracts and other liquids used in small amounts!

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: mpjmph
                                                f
                                                ferret RE: mpjmph Feb 22, 2011 01:12 PM

                                                I posted this above but think you might enjoy it so here it is again, it's a Harvard series of video podcasts on science and cooking. The lectures are hit-or-miss, Ferran Adria, the godfather of it all is a bit dull and clinical but Joan Roca, who is featured in the second lecture, is mesmerising.

                                                http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/s...

                                                1. re: ferret
                                                  mattstolz RE: ferret Feb 25, 2011 03:10 AM

                                                  thank you so much for posting that link! these lectures are great!

                                                  1. re: mattstolz
                                                    f
                                                    ferret RE: mattstolz Feb 25, 2011 05:50 AM

                                                    You're welcome. I think that they clarify a lot of what people are having difficulty with here, that a scientific approach to cooking didn't just appear in the last 20 years (more like the last 150 or so). And as much as I enjoyed Roca, they did him a disservice with the awful translator.

                                                    1. re: ferret
                                                      mattstolz RE: ferret Feb 25, 2011 09:09 AM

                                                      yeah i agree on that. it also seems like she doesnt know the translations for a few of the key words and ingredients (like xanthan gum)

                                                      1. re: mattstolz
                                                        f
                                                        ferret RE: mattstolz Feb 25, 2011 12:45 PM

                                                        Or techniques (and not just the foofy ones). They would have done better with a translator who cooked every once in a while - she appeared to be stumped by a lot of what was happening.

                                                        Bad translation aside it did make me research travel options to get to the restaurant.

                                                        1. re: ferret
                                                          mattstolz RE: ferret Feb 25, 2011 03:20 PM

                                                          Jose Andres has had plans to SUPPOSEDLY open a Bazaar in Miami for like three years now... its allegedly breaking ground this year, but they told us that last year too...

                                                          its starting to make me anxious. i REALLY want it to open soon

                                                          BTW: i really wanna try the idea of smoking the langosteens (lol translator called them "little lobsters") with the curry powder!

                                                          1. re: ferret
                                                            mattstolz RE: ferret Feb 26, 2011 08:43 PM

                                                            did you happen to watch the lecture about gelation with jose andres? its AMAZING. his love for food just explodes into his lectture.

                                                            1. re: mattstolz
                                                              jiminy RE: mattstolz Feb 27, 2011 04:47 PM

                                                              I haven't seen that but on his PBS show "made in spain" his passion really come through, and he seems like a generally nice guy. I also got that vibe when he was on No Reservations a while ago

                                                              1. re: jiminy
                                                                chefathome RE: jiminy Feb 27, 2011 04:52 PM

                                                                He really does seem like a great guy a person could hang out and cook with - not intimidating like some others appear to be. His lecture on gelation sounds awesome and spellbinding - wish I could have seen it. One of the things I like about him most is his passion for food and cooking.

                                                              2. re: mattstolz
                                                                paulj RE: mattstolz Feb 27, 2011 04:58 PM

                                                                Jose is a good example of thinking outside the culinary box even without pulling out the chemistry set. A perfect example is carefully extracting the seed capsule from a tomato, and using that as a garnish, for example on a cube of watermelon. Another novel idea from a Spanish restaurant was serving pineapple pieces with a drizzle of molasses (I first saw this on the 'On the road Again' series).

                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                  chefathome RE: paulj Feb 27, 2011 05:00 PM

                                                                  As an aside, speaking of pineapple drizzled with molasses (kind of!) cubes of watermelon drizzled with balsamico is wonderful as well.

                                                  2. thew RE: mucho gordo Feb 28, 2011 04:10 AM

                                                    all cooking is playing with chemistry

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: thew
                                                      josquared RE: thew Feb 28, 2011 06:19 AM

                                                      That's what I was thinking myself, but I guess to each their own.

                                                    Show Hidden Posts