Molecular Gastronomy


Playing around with your senses, that is one thing that molecular gastronomy experiments with. Molecular gastronomy is a new method of experiencing food that takes on a scientific approach to creating food. Chefs who use this food science typically use centrifuges, liquid nitrogen, microscopes or lasers to cook, and their main aim is to push the boundaries and create avant-garde dishes.

They also believe that the sense of taste is not the only one at play when it comes to enjoying food, the other senses such as sound and smell are key to our enjoyment of a dish. Scientists have proved that when a person eats a carrot with the crunch amplified via a microphone and headphones, the consumer believes it to be much fresher and cleaner tasting than a carrot without the audio equipment. This is the sort of information these modernist chefs are keeping in mind, while they come up with experimental dishes.

Molecular gastronomy seeks to explore and investigate the physical and chemical transformation of ingredients that occur while cooking. It is a modernist approach to cooking that uses the technical innovations found in the scientific fields to its own advantage, to create food that is out of this world. This method applies scientific research of food to enable chefs to prepare dishes that surprise all your senses, and give them pleasure on a much higher level. What these experiments have led to is new innovative dishes such as hot gelatins, faux caviar, spherical ravioli, crab ice cream and olive oil spiral, amongst many other examples.

One of the best restaurants in the world applies the methods of molecular gastronomy, and is called The Fat Duck. It is found in Bray, Berkshire, England, and is run by chef proprietor Heston Blumenthal. Blumenthal applies the knowledge of the ability of fat to hold flavor to create a dish that had three flavors —basil, olive and onion—and each of them is perceived in turn.

Another innovative dish in the restaurant is called “Sound of the Sea” in which you listen to the sounds of the sea through an iPod while eating powdered baby eels, oysters, pickled onion juice foam, and more, an experience that would please all your senses, and will allow you to enjoy a dish in a new way.

The potential of molecular gastronomy is amazing, and chefs sometimes spend years in creating a dish and modifying a menu, in their aim to stay creative and innovative. These chefs are revolutionizing traditional cooking and are changing the landscape of the culinary arts and bringing a whole new emotional and sensory experience to diners willing to try something new.

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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