Gastronomic Fight Club SM

Mischief. Mayhem. Soup.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sous Vide for the Home Cook

posted by snekse
Sous Vide Ribeye Steak cooked for 4 hours at 120 degrees F by snekse on Flickr
I've long been enamored with the method of cooking sous vide. I first learned of the technique after seeing Alinea prepare broccoli sous vide at 170F in their food lab prior to opening. After reading up on the subject, I began to appreciate the problems it could solve. Ultra tender spare ribs cooked for 36+ hours. Never overcooked seafood prepared oh so delicately. A photo perfect steak cooked an exact medium rare from edge-to-edge. Beyond just the control the method provides, I was also very enthusiastic about the forgiveness allowed through that control. No longer would you need to baby sit a piece of fish with a trigger finger ready to pull it off the heat at the precise moment it was done, lest you overcook it. Imagine being able to drop dinner into a water bath before you left for work, then when you walk through the door at the end of the day, you simply plate your perfectly cooked food. That theory is all well and good, but the question remains:

Is sous vide practical for the home cook?

The short answer is not really. At first, the answer was almost certainly not. The equipment was expensive, large, and not aimed at in-home use. Of course that didn't stop the passionate food community. Finding immersion thermal circulators on eBay became more and more difficult as the hard core foodies and restaurants snatched them up. For those not willing to sacrifice the space or money for large lab equipment (even used circulators are still expensive), DIY alternatives were devised such as connecting a PID controller to a slow cooker or rice maker. For those without a soldering iron, products started hitting the market like the SousVideMagic. And of course some people just opted to monitor the temperature of a pot of water on their stove, but that's not exactly the most practical solution, especially if you want to make 36 hour short ribs. Not to mention the potential dangers with not having the water circulated.

SousVide Supreme
The latest buzz has been about true sous vide equipment designed from the ground up for home use. The SousVide Supreme™ "water oven" just hit the market in January 2010. It's "designed specifically to bring the gourmet sous vide cooking method into home kitchens". And it does a very good job of it, but that's our next article. Before you go out and buy one, you have to decide if it's right for you.

I don't want to cover all of the pros and cons of sous vide, but I do want to cover what I think are the most impactful for the home chef. But first, let's start with a quote from Thomas Keller, author of Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide , on cooking sous vide at home:
"It's not necessarily for the home cook yet. They can try to understand what sous vide is, but most of the applications in the book are industry-oriented. To incorporate sous vide into the home, chefs first have to embrace the technique so that home cooks become more familiar with it. I think we'll start to see that soon."

Benefits of Sous Vide Cooking

  • Precision: Being able to just set a dial and know your food is going to be cooked to perfection is an amazing ability.
  • Forgiveness: Because of the precision, you won't need to worry about overcooking something nearly as much as you would with other methods.
  • Time: If you're the kind of person who likes to Feed the Freezer, sous vide could help. There's also the aspect that not having to tend a dish frees up your time to do other things.
  • Parties: If you throw lots of dinner parties, sous vide is for you. Cook lots of portions at once, all done perfectly and consistently. Not to mention with a little planning you could cook a multi-course meal just in your sous vide machine, giving you time to interact with your guests.

Drawbacks of Sous Vide Cooking

  • Cost: Not only is the equipment still pricey, but you also have to factor in the cost of bags.
  • Time: Though it could save you labor time, the fact that it might take you 4 hours to cook a steak is definitely a negative. There's also upper limits on time that I'll address more in a bit.
  • Knowledge: It's tough to acquire knowledge about how long to cook something and at what temperature. It's gotten easier to find these answers, but it's still tough.
  • Size: Though the SousVide Supreme is relatively small in size, it's still about the size of a bread box. If you also have a vacuum sealer, then that's more counter space you have to account for.
So who is sous vide right for? I'm sure I'm going to miss large groups here and make some people mad (check the comments for differing opinions), but really I could only think of two types: party people and stay-at-homes. And it all boils down to one issue: Time.

Sous Vide Party

If you're the constant entertainer, but you're always in the kitchen as your guest mingle, this could help alleviate some of that. Drop some asparagus in before your guests arrive. When the first one shows up, drop the temp but leave the asparagus in the water. When it gets low enough, add a bag of diver scallops. When the scallops are cooked, you just need to sear them, but every scallop will be cooked perfectly in the middle and your asparagus will be warm, ready to eat and correctly tender without being too crunchy or mushy.

Sous Vide for the Stay-at-Home

You're someone who stays at home for most of the day and you're expected to have dinner on the table when everyone comes home. Chances are pretty good that you have other things going on during your day that you could use a little extra free time. Being able to prepare lunch and dinner at the same time could really come in handy. Make some mac-n-cheese for lunch and drop some pork chops into a water bath at the same time. Then when it's dinner time, just pull the chops out, sear them off and a few minutes later, dinner is served.

Who is Sous Vide Not Good For?

Everyone else; unless you have money to spare on a toy that you may not use every week. Again, the problem is time. Remember how I said one of the benefits is that you can't "over cook" food? Well, that's technically correct, but you can over tenderize food. If you leave a piece of protein in a water bath far longer than you're supposed to, the texture will become mushy and mealy. Not pleasant at all. If I can't leave something in to cook all day long or if I can't come home and finish dinner in 20 minutes, then it's not really practical for my lifestyle.

Here are the caveats to my argument. If you don't mind eating the same thing all week long, then making lots of steaks on the weekend, then searing them as needed throughout the week might be a good option for you. The other possibility is to use the water bath like a slow cooker. It would have to be a type of dish that doesn't need that roasted, reduced liquid goodness quality that comes with evaporation of the liquids, but it is a possibility.

Don't forget the "sous vide" in sous vide

Pork with spices onions and apples in a Ziploc handi-vac bag.
Unfortunately, none of this addresses the other part of the equation, and the real heart of sous vide: the under pressure part. At the moment there are three common methods used to vacuum package food in the home. The most common is to use a consumer vacuum sealer like a FoodSaver device. I think what has become a quick second place is the new Handi-Vac from Reynolds. The final method is to just double bag your food in ZipLoc backs and try to suck as much air as possible with a straw.

None of these methods match the industrial vacuum chambers restaurants use. They work well enough, but liquid is their Achilles' heel. Liquid in the bag can make a mess as it gets sucked out of the bag and into your device. Worse yet, it can prevent the bag from sealing. I often double seal my bags just to be safe. One way around this is to turn your liquid into a solid by freezing it if possible. Just one more thing to keep in mind.

I know that's a lot to consider, but hopefully this helps you make an informed decision when considering if sous vide something you want to try and if it's something you want to invest in the proper equipment for. Similar to smoking meat and frying whole turkeys, it's not for everyone, but if you're passionate about it and you put some effort into it, the results can be amazing.

RELATED LINKS:
Auber Instruments Sous Vide Cooking Controller
Sous Vide Supreme Review via Popular Science
DIY Immersion Circulator
Scallop Sous Vide at 49 and 51 degrees C
Sous-Vide Scallops in a Rice Cooker
Sous vide Lobster tail at 60°C
Sous Vide Lobster, Creme Fraiche, Caviar
Lobster and Hen of The Woods Mushrooms
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Alinea, Thomas Keller and Fat Duck Cookbooks

posted by snekse
So you're a busy forgetful procrastinating slacker. You forgot to get your dad a Father's Day gift. Here's a great excuse - tell him it hasn't arrived yet. Even better, tell him it hasn't arrived because the gift you ordered isn't even in stores yet!

I mean, sure for Father's Day you could have gotten pop the predictable 10th Anniversary Edition of the The Barbecue! Bible or Weber's Real Grilling or one of the many other cookbooks associated with the holiday, but that's not very GFC. You wanted to get him something extra special, so you ordered one of the many amazing books coming out later this year. But what book to choose?

Alinea Cookbook by Grant Achatz
First we have a book we told you about a couple of months back - Grant Achatz' Alinea Book. It includes over 600 recipes to make 100 of Alinea's most famous dishes and includes over 600 stunning photos. Sure you may not have a cold smoking gun or an anti-griddle, but the pictures are pretty enough to justify the price. And to sweeten the pot, buying the book gets you access to the Alinea mosaic site "containing bonus recipes, demonstration videos, supplementary images, and a behind the scene perspective". Be sure to impress your dad by mentioning Grant Achatz is a 3 time James Beard Foundation Award winner.

Under Pressure Sous Vide Recipe cookbook By Thomas Keller
Next up is the first new book from Thomas Keller since the Bouchon Cookbook. Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide will cover cooking food, you guessed it..., "sous-vide"; the almost now passé molecular gastronomy trend of cooking food "under vacuum". I'm actually really excited about this book as I've been on the hunt for an economical sous-vide setup for months. This book might help justify spending a little more money on a proper immersion circulator bath. ***UPDATE*** Keller has another new book out as well: "Ad Hoc at Home".

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal
And finally we have the book from the second best restaurant in the world - The Fat Duck. In The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, Heston Blumenthal covers a lot of the back story behind the huge success of his restaurant along with documenting over 50 signature recipes in a massive 500+ page book. Now you too can make Snail Porridge, Nitro-scrambled Egg and Bacon Ice Cream, and "Hot and Iced Tea". A more condensed and cheaper version titled "The Fat Duck Cookbook" is available as well.

Oh, alright, I'll throw in a couple more IOU books just because they're so darn cool.

Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes
Do I really need to say much more about this book? I mean the title says it all - Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes. Are you kidding me? A book about fat! Endorsing the use of fat in all it's glory. Duck fat. Caul fat. Leaf lard. Bacon. Ghee. Suet. Schmaltz. Cracklings. Hell yeah. And that covershot - foodporn if I ever saw it. [UPDATE: Read the GFC review of the Fat cookbook]

A16 Cookbook
I'm a little bit surprised about this next one, because I didn't think A16 had been around that long. I know it's a hot spot and all and Nate Appleman has gotten a lot of praise, but he seems to have gotten himself a book deal pretty quickly. Congrats to him. The book, A16: Food & Wine, focuses on rustic recipes of Southern Italy and sounds pretty intriguing.

Dessert FourPlay Cookbook by Johnny Iuzzini
Finally, if your dad has more of a sweet tooth, you can get him Dessert FourPlay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef - the first cookbook written by rockstar pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini. Iuzzini is one of maybe 10 pastry chefs I could name off the top of my head, and one of the few "modern" pastry chefs who has written a book recently. The last modern pastry book I can think of is Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts.

Of course you could always just tell your dad you were working on your own book.

***UPDATE***
3 of these books have made Amazon.com's Editor's Picks list for the best cooking, food, and wine books of 2008.
Top 10 Cookbooks of 2008
And several have been nominated for a 2009 James Beard Book award.

RELATED LINKS:
Foodies Guide to Father's Day Gifts
The International Agenda for Great Cooking

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Order Modicum Wine from The French Laundry

posted by snekse
Several months ago I wrote about some of the mystery around the amazing Modicum Cabernet Sauvignon served at The French Laundry as their house wine. Thanks to an anonymous commenter and Paul Roberts, the Corporate Wine and Beverage Director for The French Laundry, I have some more exciting news for everyone.

While you may still find it difficult, if not impossible, to get a reservation at The French Laundry , you can now at least drink their wine. Though only available in very limited quantities, they have decided to start offering Modicum, along with a new Bordeaux blend, for off-site sales. Pair this wine with some French Laundry recipes and you have the next best thing to actually getting a reservation.

September 15, 2007


We are pleased to announce the second release of wines under the Modicum label. This offering includes the 2003 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2005 St. Helena Red Wine. These bottlings are a collaborative project between Chef Thomas Keller and Master Sommelier, Paul Roberts.

The meaning of modicum is “a small amount of something unique.” To us, Modicum represents a small amount of the very best fruit that we can locate.. This fall Modicum has grown to two wines: a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford and a 2005 Napa Valley Red from St. Helena.

The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a dramatic site located in Rutherford. In this vineyard, sandy loam soils cover composted volcanic ash, and coupled with its locale above the valley floor compose a site that yields distinct fruit with remarkable ripeness and still the elusive element of finesse.

Our newest offering is the 2005 Napa Valley Red Wine from St. Helena. This wine is a blend of three vineyards in the St. Helena AVA, which are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The unique terroir of each site is apparent in the complexity of this blend. The backbone of the blend is from a rocky, high elevation parcel east of the city of St. Helena. Two vineyards in the western hills of the appellation complete the blend: one parcel is north of the St. Helena city limits planted in dusty red soil, the other is nestled against the base of Spring Mountain along an alluvial plain filled with decomposed river rocks.

As envisioned, the Modicum project is extremely small in production. Only 100 cases of the 2003 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon and only 150 cases of the 2005 St. Helena Red Wine were produced.

Thank you for joining us in the excitement of our second public release! We look forward to hearing from you soon. If you have any questions, we welcome you to contact Paul Roberts by fax at 707.944.0447 or by email at proberts@modicum.net

With Warm Regards,

Thomas Keller     Paul Roberts, MS


MODICUM ORDER FORM




***UPDATE***
They have new availability offering per an email from The French Laundry's Erin Tichy:
We are pleased to be able to offer you The French Laundry’s Modicum Wine; the Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 and 2005 vintages along with the St. Helena Red Blend, 2006 vintage.

The meaning of modicum is “a small amount of something unique.” To us, Modicum represents a small amount of the very best fruit attainable.

The Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 and 2005, comes from a dramatic site located in the Rutherford appellation. This vineyard which has sandy loam soils coupled with its locale above the valley floor, composes a site that yields distinct fruit with remarkable ripeness.

The Napa Valley Red Wine Blend, 2006, is a blend of three vineyards in the St. Helena appellation which is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The unique terroir of each site is apparent in the complexity of this blend. The backbone of the wine is from a rocky, highly elevated parcel east of St. Helena. Two additional vineyards in the western hills complete the blend; one parcel is north of St. Helena planted in dusty red soil, the other is nestled against the base of Spring Mountain amongst decomposed river rock.

As originally conceived, the Modicum project is extremely small in its production. Only 135 cases of the Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004; 110 cases of the Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 and 160 cases of the St. Helena Red Wine Blend were produced.

Thank you for your continued support! We look forward to hearing from you soon. If you have any questions, we welcome you to contact Erin Tichy by fax at 707.944.1974 or by email at etichy@modicum.net

Prices:
2004 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon $115.00
2005 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon $115.00
2006 St. Helena Bordeaux Blend $115.00

Due to the state law restrictions on the shipment and delivery of wine to consumers, we will transfer all wine purchased by you to a Vintrust wine storage facility in Napa, CA. Vintrust will charge a handling fee of $1.50 per bottle and your wine will be transferred into a Vintrust wine storage facility in Napa, CA. Once your order is confirmed, you must contact Vintrust directly via telephone or email at 1.877.VINTRUST or info@vintrust.com in order to arrange for storage or shipping.

For an order form, or If you have, any questions please email: etichy@modicum.net.

RELATED LINKS:
RESTAURANT REVIEW: The French Laundry, Yountville (by Alder @ Vinography)
PHOTOS: Dinner at The French Laundry
INTERVIEW: Thomas Keller
NOTES: Modicum on CellerTracker.com

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

2007 JAMES BEARD WINNER

posted by snekse
James Beard Logo
And the winner is...

In my opinion, Chef David Chang @ Momofuku Noodle Bar, for receiving the highly competitive Raising Star Chef Award. This honor is given to a chef under 30 who "display an impressive talent and who is likely to have a significant impact on the industry in years to come". Congrats to Chef Chang!

Other notable winners include...

Outstanding Chef: Michel Richard @ Citronelle
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Michael Laskonis @ Le Bernardin
Outstanding Restaurant: Rick Bayless @ Frontera Grill
Outstanding Restaurateur: Thomas Keller @ TFL & Per Se
Outstanding Service: TRU , Chicago IL
Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, CA

Best New Restaurant: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in New York

Best Chef Awards
CHEFS WHO HAVE SET NEW OR CONSISTENT STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE IN THEIR RESPECTIVE REGIONS. EACH CANDIDATE MAY BE EMPLOYED BY ANY KIND OF DINING ESTABLISHMENT AND MUST HAVE BEEN A WORKING CHEF FOR AT LEAST THE PAST 5 YEARS. THE 3 MOST RECENT YEARS MUST HAVE BEEN SPENT IN THE REGION WHERE CHEF IS PRESENTLY WORKING.
**NOTE: This is a list of select regional winners

America's Classics restaurants
  • Aunt Carrie's, Narragansett, R.I.
  • Doe's Eat Place, Greenville, Miss.
  • Primanti Brothers, Pittsburgh
  • Brookville Hotel, Abilene, Kan.
  • The Pickwick, Duluth, Minn.
  • Weaver D's, Athens, Ga.
Book Awards

Cookbook of the year: Matt Lee & Ted Lee
The Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners

COOKBOOK HALL OF FAME: Mollie Katzen
Moosewood Cookbook

ASIAN COOKING: James Oseland
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia

BAKING AND DESSERT: Dorie Greenspan
BAKING: From My Home To Yours

PROFESSIONAL POINT OF VIEW: Alain Ducasse & Frédéric Robert
GRAND LIVRE DE CUISINE: Alain Ducasse's Desserts & Pastries

ENTERTAINING: Cheryl Alters Jamison & Bill Jamison
The Big Book Of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining: Spirited Recipes and Expert Tips for Barbecuing, Charcoal and Gas Grilling, Rotisserie Roasting, Smoking, Deep-Frying, and Making Merry

GENERAL: Roy Finamore
TASTY: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day

INTERNATIONAL: Marcus Samuelsson
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa

PHOTOGRAPHY: Karl Petzke (Photographer)
MICHAEL MINA: The Cookbook

REFERENCE: Marion Nestle
What To Eat

SINGLE SUBJECT: John Scharffenberger & Robert Steinberg
The Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking & Cooking with Fine Chocolate

Congratulations to all the winners. Congrats to chef Achatz of Alinea for racking up yet another accolade. Congrats to Traci Des Jardins for what many believe is some long overdue recognition. And a really big congrats to Celina Tio for taking home the Midwest award, even if I didn't wish her luck ;-p

And a special congrats to the America's Classics, which I thought were pretty cool. Now I'll have to hunt a couple down.

RELATED LINKS:
2007 JAMES BEARD NOMINEES ANNOUNCED
RESTAURANT REVIEW: TRU Restaurant, Chicago, IL
RESTAURANT REVIEW: Alinea, Chicago, IL
INTERVIEW: Thomas Keller
2007 James Beard Foundation Award Winners
2008 James Beard Award Winners

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

INTERVIEW: Thomas Keller

posted by snekse
Label for The French Laundry's Modicum Cabernet
No, I didn't get a chance to interview Thomas Keller. To be honest, even if I got the chance, I have no idea what I would ask him. Instead I thought I'd share a recent Wine Spectator interview with the owner of The French Laundry empire.

Chef Talk: Thomas Keller

What I thought was interesting, but obviously fitting, was the fact that they discussed The French Laundry's house wine - Modicum.

Modicum instantly became one of my favorite wines the first time I tried it. I remember being blown away by it's rich, but bright chocolaty fruit flavors with amazing complexity and balance. I've been a bit obsessed about it ever since.

It's very rare that Modicum gets more than a passing mention in an interview, so to eek out some additional information about this amazing Cabernet is exciting. In general, the details about this wine are minimal and not always reliable. Beyond the basics, it's been protected under a shroud of secrecy. Of course that, combined with the French Laundry name just adds to the wine's sexiness.

For a little peak under that shroud, here's what I have been able to gleam from various sources about the wine.
  • It's made from a single vineyard in the Rutherford district of Napa Valley
  • Bottled under the name Vita Morrell Vineyards, but all indications seem to point that this is bottled by Sloan Estate
  • The 2000 vintage *may* have been bottled by Colgin from their Tychson Hill Vineyard
  • It's very likely Mark Aubert was involved in the initial project launch because of his involvement with both Colgin and Sloan during the 2000 vintage.
  • For the same reasons, it's very likely that the vineyard was planted by David Abreu
With a pedigree like that, it makes me feel very fortunate that I was able to acquire a bottle of the 2000 vintage for my personal collection.

***UPDATE***
You can now order Modicum from The French Laundry. Thanks to our anonymous commenter below for letting us know.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

The International Agenda for Great Cooking

posted by snekse
Could you ask for anything cooler. Four of the most influential people in the food industry have gathered together to create a manifesto of sorts, expressing what guides them in their craft, how they view the past/present/future traditions/techniques/movements of the cooking world and how an Open Source philosophy in the kitchen can benefit everyone. To borrow from the Java Programming world, this may be the new "Design Patterns" by the new Gang of Four!

They will break the rules, make new rules and break those too. They will borrow from multiple disciplines to create a style all their own.

They will do all of this without labels. They will do all of this in the spirit of progress and the pursuit of excellence. They will do all of this knowing their journey will never end.

Welcome to the new food renaissance.


The International Agenda for Great Cooking
-By Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and Harold McGee

The world of food has changed a great deal in modern times. Change has come especially fast over the last decade. Along with many other developments, a new approach to cooking has emerged in restaurants around the globe, including our own. We feel that this approach has been widely misunderstood, both outside and inside our profession. Certain aspects of it are overemphasized and sensationalized, while others are ignored. We believe that this is an important time in the history of cooking, and wish to clarify the principles and thoughts that actually guide us. We hope that this statement will be useful to all people with an interest in food, but especially to our younger colleagues, the new generations of food professionals.

1. Three basic principles guide our cooking: excellence, openness, and integrity.

We are motivated above all by an aspiration to excellence. We wish to work with ingredients of the finest quality, and to realize the full potential of the food we choose to prepare, whether it is a single shot of espresso or a multicourse tasting menu.

We believe that today and in the future, a commitment to excellence requires openness to all resources that can help us give pleasure and meaning to people through the medium of food. In the past, cooks and their dishes were constrained by many factors: the limited availability of ingredients and ways of transforming them, limited understanding of cooking processes, and the necessarily narrow definitions and expectations embodied in local tradition. Today there are many fewer constraints, and tremendous potential for the progress of our craft. We can choose from the entire planet's ingredients, cooking methods, and traditions, and draw on all of human knowledge, to explore what it is possible to do with food and the experience of eating. This is not a new idea, but a new opportunity. Nearly two centuries ago, Brillat-Savarin wrote that 'the discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star."

Paramount in everything we do is integrity. Our beliefs and commitments are sincere and do not follow the latest trend.

2. Our cooking values tradition, builds on it, and along with tradition is part of the ongoing evolution of our craft.

The world's culinary traditions are collective, cumulative inventions, a heritage created by hundreds of generations of cooks. Tradition is the base which all cooks who aspire to excellence must know and master. Our open approach builds on the best that tradition has to offer.

As with everything in life, our craft evolves, and has done so from the moment when man first realized the powers of fire. We embrace this natural process of evolution and aspire to influence it. We respect our rich history and at the same time attempt to play a small part in the history of tomorrow.

3. We embrace innovation - new ingredients, techniques, appliances, information, and ideas - whenever it can make a real contribution to our cooking.

We do not pursue novelty for its own sake. We may use modern thickeners, sugar substitutes, enzymes, liquid nitrogen, sous-vide, dehydration, and other nontraditional means, but these do not define our cooking. They are a few of the many tools that we are fortunate to have available as we strive to make delicious and stimulating dishes.

Similarly, the disciplines of food chemistry and food technology are valuable sources of information and ideas for all cooks. Even the most straightforward traditional preparation can be strengthened by an understanding of its ingredients and methods, and chemists have been helping cooks for hundreds of years. The fashionable term "molecular gastronomy" was introduced relatively recently, in 1992, to name a particular academic workshop for scientists and chefs on the basic food chemistry of traditional dishes. That workshop did not influence our approach, and the term "molecular gastronomy" does not describe our cooking, or indeed any style of cooking.

4. We believe that cooking can affect people in profound ways, and that a spirit of collaboration and sharing is essential to true progress in developing this potential.

The act of eating engages all the senses as well as the mind. Preparing and serving food could therefore be the most complex and comprehensive of the performing arts. To explore the full expressive potential of food and cooking, we collaborate with scientists, from food chemists to psychologists, with artisans and artists (from all walks of the performing arts), architects, designers, industrial engineers. We also believe in the importance of collaboration and generosity among cooks: a readiness to share ideas and information, together with full acknowledgment of those who invent new techniques and dishes.
Read more about this and
Heston Blumenthal's thoughts.
Heston Blumenthal, the king of 'molecular gastronomy', has a new, radical manifesto.

POST TYPE: EDITORIAL
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