Building on his pioneering work in the science of molecular gastronomy, physical chemist Hervé This introduces us to the next profound revolution coming to our kitchens: note-by-note cooking.
Just as a modern composer builds a symphony out of waves of pure sound, so a meal can be created by a modern chef using pure molecular compounds to introduce novel consistencies, colors, flavors and tastes. For instance, imagine the possibilities of limonene, a colorless liquid hydrocarbon that smells like citrus, in imparting citrus notes to a dish where it was not feasible before; imagine using sotolon, with this wonderful odor of nuts; imagine a blue food having the freshness of cucumber, the pungency of wasabi, or the crunchinesss of an apple.
In freeing us from the limits imposed by animal and plant tissues, note-by-note cooking encourages experimentation with the realms of color, consistency, odor, shape, and taste. This opens up cooking to new forms of art and scientific exploration, but also new ways to feed humankind. Note-by-note cooking brings new solutions to problems of nutrition, energy use, and water shortages allowing for a more environmentally sustainable approach to the culinary arts.
Hervé This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. His translated works include The Science of the Oven; Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism; Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking; and Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, all published by Columbia University Press.
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a sponsor of reThink Food (re-thinkfood.org), a groundbreaking conference co-organized by The Culinary Institute of America and the MIT Media Lab, which means a discount for ECC members! It will take place November 7-9 in the Napa Valley.
reThink Food brings together a diverse group of thinkers and innovators at the intersection of food, technology, behavior, and design. The initiative explores how big data, social networking, mobile computing, behavioral economics, marketing, neuroscience, agriculture, and culinary insight and strategy are radically changing food markets, systems, and our understanding of consumer choices.
Join presenters who include behavioral economists Dan Ariely (Duke University) and Michael Norton (Harvard University), scientists Lisa Mosconi (NYULMC) and Howard Shapiro (Mars, Inc.), chefs Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood), Daniel Patterson (The Daniel Patterson Restaurant Group), and Maxime Bilet (Imagine Food), Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Moss (The New York Times), journalist and author Tom Standage (The Economist), along with CIA president Tim Ryan and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, and many more. A full list of confirmed presenters is here.
Use the code RTFECC for a 10 percent discount when you register (click here). A limited number of academic discounts are also available for university researchers and professors. Contact Jackie Chi at j [underscore] chi [at] culinary [dot] edu for more information.
ECC co-founder and NYU chemistry professor Kent Kirshenbaum will take us into the world of butter. We will look at:
– What butter is made of
– The physics of butter
– Different kinds of coalesced cream products, such as clotted cream and mascarpone
– The chemistry of butter and of butter flavor
– Chemical modifications of butter and the Maillard reaction
– Brown butter
– Smen, the mysterious fermented butter of North Africa
If time permits, we will also make butter and taste a variety of types of butter.
Columbia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste by two-time Experimental Cuisine Collective presenter Ole G. Mouritsen and chef Klavs Styrbæk.
Combining culinary history with recent research into the chemistry, preparation, nutrition, and culture of food, Mouritsen and Styrbæk encapsulate what we know to date about the concept of umami, from ancient times to today. Umami can be found in soup stocks, meat dishes, air-dried ham, shellfish, aged cheeses, mushrooms, and ripe tomatoes, and it can enhance other taste substances to produce a transformative gustatory experience. Researchers have also discovered which substances in foodstuffs bring out umami, a breakthrough that allows any casual cook to prepare delicious and more nutritious meals with less fat, salt, and sugar.
Ole G. Mouritsen is a distinguished scientist and professor of biophysics at the University of Southern Denmark. Klavs Styrbæk is a chef who, for more than twenty years, has owned and run the highly regarded Restaurant Kvægtorvet (The Cattle Market) in Odense, Denmark.
For more information about the book, click here.
Ole will be doing events around the book in Los Angeles and New York in the coming week, so join him there if you can:
April 23 at 7:00 PM
UCLA, Science & Food Series
April 25 at 3:00 PM
Umami Burger, 1520 North Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028
April 27 at 5:00 PM
Food Book Fair
April 28 at 12:00 (noon) PM
Umami Burger, 432 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
In her presentation, Teaching The Evolution of Food and Medicine with Bitters, Shoots and Roots Bitters cofounder Rachel Meyer will take us on a journey into the history of the foods we eat and the mechanisms of evolution at work during the domestication of plant species from around the world. Through a series of interactive tastings, you will be treated to a molecular, chemical, and archaeobotanical tour of the geography of food origins and the ways plants have traditionally been exploited before they became the foods we prize today. Some unusual suspects, experienced through bitters, cocktails, and tisanes, include arborvitae, bhut jolokia peppers, cannibal’s tomato, Chinese indigo, devil’s hand flower, hemp seeds, monkfruit, moringa, sambong, and tartary buckwheat.
Rachel is a plant evolutionary biologist and founder of Shoots and Roots Bitters, which manufactures bitters and educates people about a wide array of the most evolutionarily and ethnobotanically fascinating species found around the world. Many of these species are her or her business partners research subjects. She earned her doctorate through the City University of New York and New York Botanical Garden Plant Science PhD program, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher in New York University in the Purugganan lab, focusing on crop genomics. As part of Shoots and Roots, she teaches workshops on the Evolution of Food, Nature’s Pharmacy, The Science of Taste, and Botany for Bartenders. Her team also delivers their bitters and botanical science knowledge through flavor-sensory rich lectures and cocktail hours. She is from Los Angeles, but has lived in Harlem for 8 years, which is where the Shoots and Roots headquarters and kitchen space are.
The brilliant minds behind Ideas in Food, Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa, regular presenters and longtime friends of the Experimental Cuisine Collective, have developed an app that should be of interest to many of our members. Kitchen Scratchpad allows users to create, collect, and collaborate on recipes and store them securely in the cloud. It’s devised with professional cooks in mind, since it’s easy to upload photos and work on recipes as a team. Since we foster collaborations at the ECC, being able to create recipes as a joint effort is of course very appealing. More info and links to download at kitchenscratchpad.com.