Posts Tagged ‘pierre gagnaire’

New book by This and Gagnaire

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

In the seemingly endless series of new books related to molecular gastronomy appearing this fall I just found out that Hervé This and Pierre Gagnaire also have a book due in October: “Cooking – The Quintessential Art”. The book is part of the California Studies in Food and Culture series which features interdisciplinary texts and has been characterized as “an intellectual exercise wholly removed from food-entertainment television”. The book is divided in five parts with the following titles which give further clues to the style of the book: The Beautiful Is the Good, Classical Ideas of Beauty, Beauty in the Middle Ages, Artistic Creativity Unbound, and The Present and Future of Cooking.

The book opens with the question “How can we reasonably judge a meal?”, signifying that this is not a cook book. According to the publisher:

This explores an astonishing variety of topics and elaborates a revolutionary method for judging the art of cooking. Many of the ideas he introduces in this culinary romance are illustrated by dishes created by Pierre Gagnaire, whose engaging commentaries provide rare insights into the creative inspiration of one of the world’s foremost chefs. The result is an enthralling, sophisticated, freewheeling dinner party of a book that also makes a powerful case for openness and change in the way we think about food.

10 elements of basic kitchen knowledge

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008


Salt in oil. According to Pierre Gagnaire, this is Hervé This’ main discovery. It allows him to sprinkle salt on dishes without the salt dissolving in water from the dish. Thereby the “crunch” of the salt is retained.

Rob Mifsud, perhaps best know for his Hungry in Hogtown blog has interviewed Hervé This. At the end of the interview Hervé lists 10 elements of basic kitchen knowledge. Some may seem obvious, but they are not, according to Hervé. Here’s the list so you can judge by yourselves:

  1. Salt dissolves in water.
  2. Salt does not dissolve in oil.
  3. Oil does not dissolve in water.
  4. Water boils at 100 °C (212 °F).
  5. Generally foods contain mostly water (or another fluid).
  6. Foods without water or fluid are tough.
  7. Some proteins (in eggs, meat, fish) coagulate.
  8. Collagen dissolves in water at temperatures higher than 55 °C (131 °F).
  9. Dishes are dispersed systems (combinations of gas, liquid or solid ingredients transformed by cooking).
  10. Some chemical processes – such as the Maillard Reaction (browning or caramelizing) – generate new flavours.