Posts Tagged ‘Cesar Vega’

Books for your Christmas wish list

Friday, December 16th, 2011

A couple of books have caught my eye during the year and have naturally made their way into my Christmas wish list (and some I’ve already ordered myself). Please let me know if there are books you belive should be on this list that I have missed.
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Available for pre-order: The Kitchen as Laboratory

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

A book I’ve been looking forward to for a long time is The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking. It is now available for pre-order with expected delivery on January 31st, 2012. Work on the book began back in 2008, and that year coincidentally marked the 20th anniversary of But the crackling is superb, a refreshing anthology on the science of cooking and eating edited by Nicholas and Giana Kurti. The editors of The Kitchen as Laboratory, Cesar Vega Morales, Job Ubbink and Erik van van der Linden, wanted to continue in the spirit of this book. Through 35 essays the invited chefs, scientists and cooks explore topics of their choice, often based on experiments in their own kitchen. This includes a contribution by me on the Maillard reaction and how we – often without thinking about it – increase it’s rate in different ways when cooking. As for the other contributions, based on the preliminary lists all I can say is that I look forward to read the book!

Perfect egg yolks (part 2)

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011


Egg cooked for 40 min at 63.0 °C. The pictures were taken within 6 seconds and are shown in the order they were taken.

My immersion circulator is working again! And the first thing I decided to do was to cook eggs at 63.0 °C for 40, 60, 75, 110 and 155 min and show you the results. If you read my last blog post on Perfect egg yolks or have stumbled across the paper Culinary Biophysics: on the Nature of the 6X°C Egg you may recognize that these times correspond to egg yolks with textures similar to sweetened condensed milk, mayonnaise, honey, cookie icing and Marmite respectively. I used the iso-viscosity graph from the paper mentioned to determine the cooking times as shown below. (more…)

Perfect egg yolks

Monday, April 18th, 2011


Maybe I have a hangup on soft boiled eggs, but I’m deeply fascinated by how something simple as an egg can be transformed into such a wide range of textures. I’m talking about pure eggs – no other ingredients added. Playing around with temperature and time can result in some very interesting yolk textures – yolks that are neither soft nor hard, but somewhere inbetween. Two examples from the blogosphere are Chad Galliano’s 90 min @ 63.8 °C egg yolk sheets and David Barzelay’s 17 min @ 70.0 °C egg yolk cylinders (both bloggers giving credit to Ideas in food and Wylie Dufresne respectively).

In 2009 I wrote about my journey towards the perfect soft boiled eggs. Equipped with a formula I knew what I wanted, but it wasn’t so easy after all. Since then I’ve tried to model experimental data from Douglas Baldwin as well as data from my own measurements of egg yolk tempereatures when cooked sous vide (pictures of how I did this at the end of this blog post). I never got around to blog about the results, and now there’s no need for it anymore: The egg yolk problem has been solved! And the question that remains is: How we can utilize this in the kitchen?

The break through came this year (more…)

Recent academic articles

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

There are a couple of recent academic papers that have been published the last 2 years which I haven’t mentioned in blog posts, but they really deserve attention. Here’s the list (with quotes from the abstracts):

Molecular gastronomy: a food fad or science supporting innovative cuisine? Cesar Vega, Job Ubbink (Trends Food Sci Technol 2008, 19(7), 372-382)

The concepts, history and approaches of molecular gastronomy are discussed with an emphasis on the relation to food science and technology. A distinction is made between molecular gastronomy and science-based cooking (…) We discuss how chefs are dealing with the available systematic knowledge on food and cooking, and how molecular gastronomy can facilitate the cumbersome, but much needed discussions among food scientists and chefs.

Molecular Gastronomy: A Food Fad or an Interface for Science-based Cooking? Erik van der Linden, David Julian McClements and Job Ubbink (Food Biophysics, 2008, 3(2), 246-254)

A review is given over the field of molecular gastronomy and its relation to science and cooking. We begin with a brief history of the field of molecular gastronomy, the definition of the term itself, and the current controversy surrounding this term. (…) On the one hand, it can facilitate the implementation of new ideas and recipes in restaurants. On the other hand, it challenges scientists to apply their fundamental scientific understanding to the complexities of cooking, and it challenges them to expand the scientific understanding of many chemical and physical mechanisms beyond the common mass-produced food products.

The life of an anise-flavored alcoholic beverage: Does its stability cloud or confirm theory? Elke Scholten, Erik van der Linden, Hervé This (Langmuir 2008, 24(5), 1701-1706).

The well-known alcoholic beverage Pastis becomes turbid when mixed with water due to the poor solubility of trans-anethol, the anise-flavored component of Pastis in the water solution formed. This destabilization appears as the formation of micrometer-sized droplets that only very slowly grow in size, thus expanding the life of the anise-flavored beverage. (…) experiments on Ostwald ripening show an increase in stability with increasing ethanol concentration, the results based on our interfacial tension measurements in combination with the same Ostwald ripening model show a decrease in stability with an increase in ethanol concentration.

Formal descriptions for formulation, Hervé This (Int J Pharm 2007, 344(1-2), 4-8)

Two formalisms used to describe the physical microstructure and the organization of formulated products are given. The first, called “complex disperse systems formalism” (CDS formalism) is useful for the description of the physical nature of disperse matter. The second, called “non periodical organizational space formalism” (NPOS formalism) has the same operators as the CDS formalism, but different elements; it is useful to describe the arrangement of any objects in space. Both formalisms can be viewed as the same, applied to different orders of magnitude for spatial size.

Lavoisier and meat stock Hervé This, Robert Meric, Anne Cazor (Compt Rend Chim 2006, 9(11-12), 1510-1515).

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier published his results on meat stock’ preparations in 1783. Measuring density, he stated that food principles’ were better extracted using a large quantity of water. This result was checked.