​Note-by-Note Cuisine

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Melt 100 gm of glucose and 20 gm of tartaric acid in 200 ml of water. Add 2 gm of polyphenol, which has been extracted from grape juice using reverse osmosis filtering. Boil and add sodium chloride and piperine—the pungent agent of black pepper. Bind the sauce with polysaccharide, one of the two components of starch. Remove the preparation away from the heat and stir in 50 gm of triglyceride. Serve as a sauce.

Does this read as an experiment in a chemistry book to you? Give it another thought. Yes, it is in fact a sauce recipe, and you would find similar ones in the Note-by-Note Cuisine manual.

Note-by-Note Cuisine is a relatively modern trend of cooking, based on molecular gastronomy*, which takes cooking to much further and unpredictable realms. The trend was first introduced in 2012 by test-tube chef, Hervé This, in his book La cuisine note à note. Hervé is a French celebrity academic and kitchen revolutionary, who is considered the father of molecular gastronomy.

Note-by-Note Cuisine means cooking from scratch. Rather than getting the recipe ingredients from the cupboard or refrigerator, chefs would grab them from the chemical cabinet. Hervé compares the new technique to “a painter using a palette of primary colors or a musician composing note by note”.

In Note-by-Note Cuisine, chefs study the fundamental chemical constituents of dishes and use them to reconstruct brand new creations and sensory experiences. They would compose odors, tastes, colors, and nutritional values from mixing raw compounds such as  water, sucrose, amino acids, lipids, and so forth. The recipes use classic cooking techniques like frying, broiling, and baking along with molecular-gastronomy methods like dehydration and spherification.

Note-by-Note Cuisine makes room for endless possibilities. For example, “if chefs have beef and carrot, they can make one mixture, but, if they have the 300 compounds in beef and the 500 in carrots, then all the possibilities exist”, says Hervé.

The first-ever note-by-note dish featured jelly pearls that tasted like apple, iced granite with a lemon taste, and a caramel wafer. No apple, lemon, or caramel were used to flavor the dish. Hervé maintains that such an approach would contribute to eliminating food waste and end world hunger.

*Read more on Molecular Gastronomy in SCIplanet Online Magazine.

References
pbs.org
theatlantic.com

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