How Do I Learn To Cook With Molecular Gastronomy?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by ejdutcher, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. ejdutcher

    ejdutcher

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    I have always been fascinated in molecular gastronomy but I have no idea where to start, I am going to buy some books (suggestions please). Are there any good sights to go to? I am lost any suggestions?

    Thanks- E.J.Dutcher
     
  2. skatz85

    skatz85

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    a friend of mine wwas interested in this too, he started just experimenting with different things do some foams and mmove to other things. look online or books and get ideas from that. good luck

    noticed u are a culinary student imsure some fo the chefs can help u or some of the other students may be interested too and help out
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  3. chef tomain

    chef tomain Banned

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    They have MG store on line. You can purchase the chemicals used in MG cooking and start  expriementing with them .Also the book "Exploring the science of taste, Food Science etc.
     
  4. chefboyarg

    chefboyarg

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    A lot of chefs these days aren't all that squeamish about throwing down some recipes with chemicals in them in their cookbooks these days. I am assuming the Alinea cookbook is chock full of them.
     
  5. chefboyarg

    chefboyarg

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    Oh...also On Cooking by Harold McGee is widely recommended by those who are into molecular gastronomy or even just cooking in general. It basically just explains the scientific processes involved in cooking and food production. Very interesting
     
  6. ishbel

    ishbel

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    Two British chefs who are noted for their MG style of cooking are Heston Blumenthal and Sat Baines.  Both have michelin-starred restaurants.  I don't know if Sat Baines has written any books, but HB certainly has, as well as having BBC TV series to his name.

    The Spanish restaurant 'e bulli' was a lighthouse of MG - but it is due to close next year -rumoured to be due to the high cost of ingredients for their extensive menu.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    The latest is that Ferran Adrian says the restaurant will NOT close permanently to be replaced by a cooking school -- which is what the NY Times says he said. 

    He now says they'll close in 2012 and reopen in 2014 as a restaurant.  What he'll do in the meantime and what changes he has planned for the eventual reopening, quien sabe?

    Let's not forget that Ferran and his brother are both "celebrity chefs" with heavy emphasis on both "celebrity" and "chef." 

    Sounds like a vacation, an opportunity to look into other business opportunities, a chance to rethink the menu, and a remodel to me. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  8. french fries

    french fries

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    I own a book that has Ferran Adria share his techniques and recipes for foams. However the book I own is a French translation of an English book, but I can't seem to locate the English version. Here's the French translation:

     
  9. ishbel

    ishbel

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    According to information I was told, they weren't taking bookings for later than June 2012...
     
  10. french fries

    french fries

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    They're currently not taking any bookings at all. 2010 has been sold out for months, and 2011 reservations won't start before December 2010. I heard the closing would be to reinvent the menu, I never heard any talks of permanently closing. Ferran said the way things work right now they cannot be creative any longer, all they can do is sustain what they have. So they want to close so they can experiment, create, and reinvent their menu.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2010
  11. ishbel

    ishbel

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    I ate there a few years go.  A friend told me that when she contacted them to book a table for 16  - she was told that she had missed the deadline of mid-2012.

    I have to admit, I'm not that enamoured of MG.  I have eaten at e Bulli, and three or four times at the Fat duck (HB's place). give me a Ramsay or Nairn or Novelli restaurant every time.
     
  12. french fries

    french fries

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    Interesting. I contacted them in February to get a booking for September, I was told they weren't taking any bookings as 2010 was sold out, and they didn't know what they were going to do in 2011 yet, and to inquire again in December 2010.
     
  13. ishbel

    ishbel

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    Well, I obviously cannot answer for the restaurant or its booking policies!

    My husband  adores their  food/service.  Me?  I have to be honest and say that I've eaten better food, better served and cheaper in many other places in France, Italy, Spain and the UK!
     
  14. french fries

    french fries

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    When I realized I would travel to Europe in the summer I immediately thought of paying them a visit, but was quickly disappointed hearing they were sold out. I think I'll just visit a few restaurants in France, which should be fun obviously, but I really wanted to see for myself what all the hoopla was all about. Thanks for sharing your experience, I guess it proves that it's probably a very personal experience, your husband loving it and you not being impressed.

    I'm curious, what are your favorite restaurants in France?
     
  15. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Grant Achatz also has a book out "Alinea" which would probably be the best resource. I think your best bet those if it is an option is to go an work for someone who is doing this type of cuisine.
     
  16. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    It may be worth bearing in mind that Ferran Adria gets very shirty about his food being described as molecular gastronomy. He insists that it is nothing of the kind. Based on what Herve This seems to mean by the term, I think Adria is right -- his cuisine is not MG. Which makes very little difference, probably, to someone wanting to experiment at home....
     
  17. durangojo

    durangojo

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    sorry, color me square, but i just do not get the whole molecular thing...am i missing something?....if i order a bowl of clam chowder, i really don't want to see a piece of bacon on one part of the plate, then a piece of potato, then a little clam with cream and onion etc..would like to eat it all together..plus i think when you make certain foods, like a chowder or stew, the flavors mingle to benefit and nudge each other by cooking together...and who was the one to think up lettuce foam?...omg!

    joey
     
  18. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    There was a thread about this a month or so back, but in brief, you have to make a distinction between avant-garde cooking and pretentious nonsense. The line is not absolute, to be sure.

    What you're talking about with the chowder is what's often called "deconstructed." We discussed this term at length in the other thread, and I won't repeat. It's also very questionable as to whether this should or should not be called "molecular gastronomy" anyway. But let's take all that as read, for a minute.

    Suppose this is being done very, very well, and set up in the context of a meal that is also very well constructed and coherently thought through. In what way could "deconstructed" chowder make any sense?

    One way would be to think, as a cook, about what "chowder" is, what it means, to the diner. So here we are in Boston, where chowder is a pretty well-known thing. There are longstanding fights about it -- no tomatoes, ever, in Boston. There are points of more minor disagreement: how much potato? salt pork or bacon, and how much? can corn go in with clams and/or fish? can clams and fish go together? should it be thin or thick, and how thick, and what thickener?

    Now take the whole dish apart and put it back together in a way that asks the diner to contemplate these questions himself. Not answer them, but think about them. One way to do this would be to take the various pieces apart and serve them in a peculiar fashion, for example upside-down: stabilize the liquid soup as a mousse, let's say, and put it on top of a clamshell filled with fish braised in clam liquid, and garnish with bacon fat turned into a powder. Ideally, a bite including all ingredients would taste exactly like excellent clam chowder, but feel and look utterly different. The diner is asked to question just what "clam chowder" means here.

    You can also use shock tactics in the same pursuit. Serve perfectly recognizable clams that are actually corn, a cream soup base that is actually pureed fish and clam, and so on, and then garnish with something apparently totally inappropriate --- like a single wedge of cherry tomato.

    It's an aesthetic, intellectual game, at base. If the diner is stimulated in a wide range of ways, it's exciting and fun.

    Now let's serve "deconstructed clam chowder" at a third-rate restaurant where it's on the "starters" menu at $12. Have two OK clams in a bowl, steamed, sitting with a piece of bacon and a potato, and on the side a little pot of cream soup base to pour on top.

    This is pretentious nonsense, unquestionably. But do you see that they're not the same thing?

    Well done, avant-garde cooking is worth doing, but not to anyone's taste all the time. That's part of its point, really: if you ate it all the time, it wouldn't refer to anything else, and would become silly and pretentious. But on the other hand, avant-garde cooking is not superior to other cooking, and those who lionize it often don't see this.
     
  19. durangojo

    durangojo

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    sorry, the chowder was a bad example..and you are right, it is more 'deconstruction' than molecular..okay, what about a ceasar salad and do the molecular thing...lettuce foam, crouton foam...,foam, foam foam...no chewing? seems to me that us homo sapiens need to chew things, at least i do..i like the act of chewing more than slurping, i guess...gotta go, but will revisit tomorrow when i can reread your very informative post....thanks

    joey
     
  20. french fries

    french fries

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    Have you ever seen a restaurant serving a ceasar salad where everything on the plate is foam? Of course not. It doesn't make any more sense than a meal where every course is dessert. Just because a meal made of "chocolate cake, lemon cake, carrot cake and vanilla cake" is ridiculous doesn't make each one of those cakes ridiculous by themselves.

    Now consider this: a caesar salad with real lettuce, real croutons and real cheese, with a perfect sphere floating on top. The sphere is the dressing. When you prick it with the tip of your fork, the dressing comes bursting out and slowly spreads over the entire salad. That could be fun, no? 

    What's wrong with wanting to play with textures, flavors, shapes, etc.... isn't that what any Chef does, molecular gastronomy or not? Take a good old pancake: what resemblance does it bear to the original products (wheat, eggs....)?