Posts Tagged ‘Harold McGee’

Harvard science & cooking lectures 2012

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

The popular Science & Cooking lectures at Harvard are back again (in fact they started September 4th). Classes are filmed and freely available via Youtube and iTunes. Like in previous years the public lecture series is given alongside the course “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter” which is reserved for currently enrolled Harvard students. The course is a joint effort of The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (“SEAS”) and the Alícia Foundation. The line-up for 2012 is quite impressive:
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Book review: Ideas in food – Great recipes and why they work

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Readers well aquianted with the food blogosphere will likely be familiar with Aki Kamozawa and Alex Talbot’s blog Ideas in food. Since December 2004 they have generously shared pictures, ideas, insights and inspirations online. As chefs they have eagerly integrated modernist techniques and elements in their cooking, allowing technology to improve their cooking whenever possible. No wonder I’ve been a long time follower of their blog! And needless to say I was also exicted to receive a review copy of their recent book Ideas in food: Great recipes and why they work.

First and foremost the book is a great collection of ideas explored by the authors. The ideas are exemplified through recipes (about 100 in total) which showcase the creativity of the authors, from the simple (more…)

TFP 2011: Interview with René Redzepi (part 3)

Saturday, May 14th, 2011


Rene Redzepi sees no contradiction between science and his style of cooking. He also promoted his book NOMA at the press conference at The Flemish Primitives 2011.

It came as no big surprise that NOMA defended its no. 1 position in April. A lot of the press coverage of NOMA and René Redzepi focuses on foraging (some even claim that we are in The Era of the ‘I Foraged With René Redzepi Piece’). It is all about nature and natural ingredients. Many would probably claim that NOMA is as far away from molecular gastronomy and science as you could possibly come. In March René Redzepi attended The Flemish Primitives in Oostende. I was there, and the one question I asked René at the press conference was this:

ML: The Flemish Primitives aims to bring together chefs, scientists and artists. There is also a co-operation between Noma and the University of Copenhagen. What have you learnt from from working with scientists?
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Interview with Chris Young

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

The authors of Modernist Cuisine: Maxime Bilet, Chris Young and Nathan Myhrvold

In 2003 Chris Young had an epiphany of a meal at The Fat Duck outside London, and by the end of the meal he knew he had to work with Heston Blumenthal. Things worked out well and after a stage he was hired to build and lead the experimental kitchen at The Fat Duck. In 2007 he returned to Seattle to work with Nathan Myhrvold who at that time was very active on the eGullet forum sharing his research on the sous vide cooking technique. The project that started off as a book on sous vide eventually grew into Modernist Cuisine with 6 volumes spanning more than 2400 pages. After many delays (one being due to Amazon’s drop test which showed that the casing wasn’t sturdy enough for the books totaling 20 kg) Modernist Cuisine is ready for release in March, and will be presented at The Flemish Primitives event in Oostende, Belgium on March 14. That’s one more reason to visit the event!

Martin Lersch: Congratulations with Modernist Cuisine – it is a truly amazing accomlishment! Will you be present in Oostende?
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Videos of Harvard lectures available

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Remember the public cooking lectures at Harvard that I mentioned in September? According to the website they are *very popular* and the auditoriums are packed! This is good news, but the best thing is that the lectures are made available through YouTube and iTunes for free! So far 9 of the sessions are available, but I guess all will be available soon. If the picture is difficult to read, here’s the list of all the lectures:
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Public cooking lectures at Harvard

Monday, September 6th, 2010

The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (“SEAS”) and the Alícia Foundation have developed a new General Education science course, “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to the Science of Soft Matter”. The class is limited to currently enrolled Harvard undergrads, but the general public will have an opportunity to attend topic-related public lectures given by the guest chefs and faculty affiliated with the course. The lectures are not a replication of the course, but will consist of a brief introduction by Harvard professors followed by a broad-based talk by the chef. The first public lecture tomorrow features Harold McGee, Ferran Adria and José Andrés, so it would be well worth a visit if you live nearby. More info on venue, times and schedule here.

[Thank’s to Matthew Pierce for the tip!]

New book from McGee: Keys to Good Cooking

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Harold McGee, author of the seminal On food and cooking: The science and lore of the kitchen (which is one of my favorite non-recipe books for the kitchen) has done it again! The book Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes is to appear in October, but is already available for pre-order as I write. The book is one step closer to the kitchen and the actual cooking than On food and cooking. In a mini Q&A with NY Times in 2008 Harold McGee said the following:

“I’ve heard from many cooks that while they value the scope and depth of “On Food & Cooking,” when they need practical help with a specific technique or ingredient it’s often hard for them to locate the information. So my next book will be nothing but practical information and directions, concise and brief.”

I think it’s fair to say that Harold McGee, more than any other person I know of, has been very successful at distilling scientific work into a very readable and accessible form. He did this back in 1984 with the first edition of On food and cooking, and then again in 2004 with a more or less rewritten edition in 2004. A complete book with practical information rooted in science can easily become the single most useful book in your kitchen!

The Flemish Primitives 2010

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

tfp-2010

If you’ve followed my blog more than a year you probably remember that I took part in The Flemish Primitives in Brugge in January 2009. The visit resulted in four blog posts (just in case you wonder what it’s all about): The Flemish Primitives: A travel report (part 1), Chocolate surprise (part 2), Heston Blumenthal (part 3) and Glowing lollipops (part 4). It was a day packed with experiences and interesting meetings. But let us not ponder more with 2009 – Bernard Lahousse has let me know that the next event is just around the corner. In fact it’s only a couple of weeks away. Like last year the venue is Concertgebouw Brugge and the date is February 8th, 2010 (Yes – you have to hurry up with your reservations!).

As for the program, I quote from the invitation folder (my highlights):
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Has molecular gastronomy reached the plateau of productivity?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

pipa
Loquat fruit (known as pipa in Chinese) piled up at Mercat St. Joseph in Barcelona.

Molecular gastronomy was recently chosen as word of the month (not quite sure exactly which month this was). They give the following definition:

the art and practice of cooking food using scientific methods to create new or unusual dishes

This is not the best definition I’ve seen, to be honest. Why should one limit it to new or unusual dishes? When taken to extremes this only results in gimmickery. Strangely enough there are no hits when I search for “molecular gastronomy” at www.askoxford.com, so one might wonder whether they changed their mind? Personally I feel that molecular gastronomy should strive to improve both home cooking and restaurant cooking. That’s also what I tried to convey with my 10-part series with tips for practical molecular gastronomy.

The Webster’s New Millennium dictionary has this definition:
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A Christmas wish list

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

The avalanche of books in the food/science intersection this fall has been truly amazing. Three books in particular have showcased special restaurants: el Bulli, Alinea and The Fat Duck.
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