October 30, 2014 Meeting
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.