Posts Tagged ‘the flemish primitives’

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?

The Flemish Primitives 2011 (part 1)

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

The Flemish Primitives aims to bring together chefs and scientists to promote culinary innovation. The last two editions held in Brugge focused on food pairing and new technologies. This year the event had moved to Oostende and the more spacious Kursaal (a good choice!). The event had also been stretched over two days, starting with 10 master classes in five parallel sessions on Sunday followed by a Gala dinner prepared by 13 Belgian chefs. The second day followed the format from previous years. The focus was on a group of Belgian chefs, the so-called Flemish Primitives as well as specially invited guests from abroad including René Redzepi and Michel Bras. All chefs prepared food live on stage. In between the chefs there was also time for two sessions with researchers from KU Leuven and a presentation of Modernist Cuisine by Chris Young. (more…)

Modernist Cuisine presented at The Flemish Primitives

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Flown in directly from Seattle, Chris Young presented Modernist Cuisine at The Flemish Primitives today. In the picture: presumably the first copy in Europe :) It’s backordered now (see Nathan’s long posts on this) due to high sales. It actually reached as high as #38 on Amazon’s overall sales rank.  I had 5 minutes to take a look at the books today and I can only say wow! These books mark a new era for everyone interested in a scientific and technological approach to cooking! Immediately the feeling struck me: there is nothing more to blog about now. But Chris reassured me (as he also did in my recent interview with him) that there is plenty more to dig into. Phew. Expect more about The Flemish Primitives 2011 in the coming days.

The Flemish Primitives 2011

Friday, January 7th, 2011

It’s soon time for the third edition of The Flemish Primitives and registration has now opened. The Flemish Primitives wants to challenge Belgian gastronomy and bring together chefs from all over the world to meet and exchange ideas built on innovation. The top name this year is without doubt the chef René Redzepi of Noma, the world’s best restaurant according to Restaurant magazine, but “the Flemish primitives” will be present (a group of Belgian chefs) as well as guests and scientists. And there are a lot of new things going on as well. (more…)

TFP 2010: Tomato gels with the pectin that’s there (part 6)

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Jean Yves Wilmot explains his tomato gels to Gene Bervoets

Making gels with fruits that are high in pectin is not particularily challenging. Addition of sugar promotes pectin gel formation with low methoxyl (LM) pectin, but the drawback is that you need a lot of sugar, typically around 50%. So this is only relevant for jams and marmelades. And if you try to gel tomatoes or carrots you may find this quite challenging, even if you add sugar. The approach chosen by Thomas Duvetter, a post doctoral researcher at Laboratory of Food Technology at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, was to use the pectin methyl esterase enzymes (PME) naturally present in tomatoes, carrots and oranges. The role of PME is to cleave of methyl groups, hence leaving the pectin more prone to calcium induced gelling. Equipped with this knowledge Jean Yves Wilmot presented a number of gels made with the pectin that’s already there.

TFP2010: Gadgets (part 5)

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Crycotuv – a combined vacuum chamber and super fast freezer with internal spray nozzle.

If I were to name a topic for this year’s Flemish Primitives event I guess gadgets would be it. I’ve already covered the high pressure processing in a previous post. Regrettably we were only shown pictures and movies of this machine (it is to large/complex to be brought on stage) but there was much more that would qualify for a post focusing on some of the gadgets presented.

The most obscure machine in my opinion was the Crycotuv – a vacuum chamber which could be cooled to any desired temperature between -150 and 0 °C in seconds/minutes. (more…)

TFP 2010: Interview with Bernard Lahousse (part 4)

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Bernard Lahousse, project manager of The Flemish Primitives.

I’ve written a couple of posts about The Flemish Primitives 2010 event (and there are more to come), but I also wanted to do an interview with Bernard Lahousse, the project manager of the event. Bernard first contacted me back in 2006 and we met at the EuroFoodChem conference in Paris in 2007. Those who’ve followed Khymos for a while may remember pointers to the “Food for design” blog and the foodpairing website which Bernard has set up.

ML: It seems you have always had an interest for things in the cross section of science and art? When we first came in contact you were writing the “Food for design” blog which covered gastronomy, science and design – what happend to it?

BL: Indeed, I’ve always been interested in the cross-section between different disciplines. Not only science-art or science-gastronomy, but many more. My belief is that the interesting stuff is happening where people with different background meet. As I lack time (and also Lieven), we made a choice to put Food for design on hold and concentrate on other topics. For me that’s foodpairing and my company. For Lieven it is his PhD.

ML: Could you briefly describe your educational background and how you ended up as a project manager for The Flemish Primitives?

TFP2010: More inspiration from Asia (part 3)

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Sang Hoon Degeimbre (chef at L’Air du Temps) on stage at TFP2010. Photo by Piet De Kersgieter.

As mentioned in my previous post on The Flemish Primitives 2010 (TFP2010) two chefs had taken their inspiration from Asia. Peter Goossens had come across high pressure processing during a study trip to Japan, and had developed this further in cooperation with Stefan Töpfl. Korean born Sang Hoon Degeimbre (of L’Air du Temps) on the other hand had returned to his roots to study kimchi, the ubiquitious Korean staple food. It is a pickled dish made of vegetables with various seasonings, and it is a very common side dish in Korea. In fact, it’s so common that Koreans say “kimchi” when being photographed, just like we say “cheese” in English.

TFP 2010: Inspiration from Asia (part 2)

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Shellfish after treatment for 2 min @ 6000 bar. Fresh, juicy and tasty!

The available litterature in English (including blogs) on popular food science focuses mainly on Western cooking, although the academic litterature on Asian foods is catching up quickly. Although widespread and apparently “well known”, Asian cooking is still largely being referred to in broad categories such as Chinese, Indian etc. Having spent 10 years of my childhood in Asia I’ve always had the feeling that this wasn’t quite right, and I do indeed look forward to learn more about the science aspects of Asian food in the years and decades to come. In one of the breakout sessions (more about those in a separate post) Alok Nandi made a point that Indian cuisine is as diverse as the European cuisine. With this background it is interesting to note that two of the chefs presenting at The Flemish Primitives 2010 had taken their inspiration from Asia.

The Flemish Primitives 2010 (part 1)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Again I was lucky that all the practical details worked out so I could attend this year’s Flemish Primitives in Brugge. For some one who’s not attended, it’s not so easy to grasp the concept and ideas behind The Flemish Primitives (TFP). And I admit, even though I’ve been there twice it’s not so easy to convey it in a short way. First of all the name is rather cryptic (unless you’re into art) as it refers to early Netherlandish painting. The link to food is described as follows by the organizers of the event (my highlights):

In the 15th and 16th century, ’The Flemish Primitives’ were masters in combining their talent with new techniques. Techniques they developed by interacting with other disciplines like manuscripting, sculpting, etc. This way of working changed the painting techniques in all of Western Europe forever. The event ‘The Flemish Primitives’ wants to continue in the same spirit. Respect for food products and beverages, the knowledge of the classic cooking techniques combined with a stimulation of new techniques and creativity. By promoting interaction between scientists, the world’s most famous chefs and artists, the event wants to deliver a creative boost for the food industry and gastronomy in Belgium and the world.

Considering last year’s sucess it was no big surprise that this year’s event was sold out (and the foyer of the Concertgebouw was equally full in the coffee breaks). And with the memories from last year I arrived in Brugge with great expectations. One main difference from previous years was that the scientific parts were much better integrated throughout the day. Scientists were on stage alongside the chefs, explaining their work. Also, contrary to last year’s back stage kitchen, they had now moved the kitchen onto the stage, flanked by a bar, some sofas and laboratory mezzanine. A good decision!