Archive for the ‘molecular gastronomy’ Category

Flavour right around the corner

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011


The launch of Flavour, the journal I mentioned recently, is right around the corner. To celebrate the launch they give away 10 copies of Peter Barham’s Science of Cooking to anyone who registers for their article alerts before 1st July. The nice thing for those of us who don’t have free access to scientific litterature through an university library is that it’s an open access journal. There’s some more info in this blog post or you can follow them on Twitter.

Copenhagen MG seminar: Ice cold world record attempt (part 7)

Friday, April 29th, 2011


Peter Barham on his way to beat the current world record for the fastest ice cream

In case you didn’t know the current world record for the world’s fastest ice cream is 10.34 seconds! To obtain the record you have to make one liter of ice cream from milk, sugar and flavoring (no eggs). Liquid nitrogen is used to rapidly cool and freeze the ice cream mixture. The current record was achieved by Andrew Ross (UK) at Cliffe Cottage in Sheffield,”‹ South Yorkshire,”‹ UK, on 6 June 2010. Prior to that the world record belonged to Peter Barham who in 2005 shaved two seconds of his previous record, ending at 18.78 seconds. To conclude his presentation on how food can be used to make students interested in physics and chemistry Peter decided to beat the current world record. Here’s a video of how it went:
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Copenhagen MG seminar: Food and science fun (part 6)

Thursday, April 28th, 2011


How much does air weigh? With a balloon and a microwave oven you can easily find out says Peter Barham.

Peter Barham’s presentation at the MG seminar in Copenhagen focused on how food can be used to make students interested in physics and chemistry (not a bad thing, especially since 2011 is the International Year of Chemistry) -Most people think science is boring and difficult, he said. But demos can help bring science to life, and believe it or not – experiments are much better when they go wrong. Using balloons, champagne, potatoes and liquid nitrogen Peter Barham proved his point. (more…)

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…)

Yet another journal looking for MG contributions

Monday, April 18th, 2011


Juan Valverde (a former student of Hervé This) who is now on the editorial board of the Journal of Culinary Science & Technology informed me that they are looking for new contributions in the molecular gastronomy field. The scope and coverage of the journal is as follows (quoting from their webpage):

  • Culinary innovation
  • Blurring lines between food technology and culinary arts
  • Issues and trends related to human nutrition
  • The collaboration between food science and culinary innovation
  • Techniques and technology and their role in quality of life/guest satisfaction associated with culinary, wine and food experiences
  • Trends in molecular gastronomy and its derivates
  • Annual review of trends in culinary science and technology
  • Applied research
  • Relevant research notes
  • Management styles, methods and principles
  • Techniques and innovations

While you wait for Flavour and International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science to appear you can always browse through some back issues of this journal.

New journal to launch soon: Flavour

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

While we’re still waiting for the first edition of International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science to appear: I learnt in the Copenhagen MG seminar that yet another journal is to launch soon – the Flavour journal published on BioMed Central. It’s open source (= free) which is good news for chefs and other enthusiasts without an academic afficiliation that gives access to journals. The chief editors are Per Møller and Peter Barham (co-authors of the highly recommended molecular gastronomy review). – I am passionate about good food and cooking, so I hope that the articles in Flavour will not only further our understanding of all the processes that go to developing and appreciating the flavour of the food we eat, but will also provide me, and many others with new ideas to try out in our own kitchens so we can prepare ever better dishes, says Peter Barham.
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TFP 2011: Sous vide master class (part 2)

Friday, April 1st, 2011


Sous vide fish should be cooked at several temperatures followed by stepwise cooling for the best texture

Bruno Goussault started the sous vide master class at The Flemish Primitives 2011 by arguing that precise temperature or right temperature cooking is a better term than low temperature cooking. It’s really about knowing at which temperature the desired change takes place (or even better: knowing which time-temperature combinations will yield the desired results – this is a topic I will come back to soon).

Recounting the early days of sous vide, Bruno Goussault explained how he was once asked about how to produce prepare tender meat from a though cut. He was aware of a science paper on a slow cooking technique from USA (anyone know which paper this was?). It utilized a water bath, but the water washed away the juices. To avoid this Bruno wrapped the meat in cling film. A roast beef cooked at 58 °C turned out tender with a nice pink color. Then a friend working with plastics suggested that he should look into polyethylene (PE) bags in combination with a sous vide machine (boil-in-bag had already been around for some time apparently). Interestingly Bruno mentioned that during a recent Bocuse d’Or competition in USA where Bruno trained the American team, they replaced the plastic with a “skin” made from shrimps. Maybe we will see more “edible” skins used in sous vide in the future?

VACUUMING
Bruno then went on to talk about the vacuuming process and how time/pressure profiles should be adjusted (more…)

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…)

Open position in science and cooking at Harvard

Monday, March 21st, 2011

I recently blogged about the public science and cooking lectures at Harvard to let you know that videos from the lectures are available for download. The public lectures accompany the course SPU-27: Science and Cooking (non-official pdf with syllabus of the course). I just got an email that they have an open position for a preceptor (a kind of lecturer). Responsibilities include:

  • Work with (and report to) the faculty members who are the principal course instructors, to prepare lecture materials, lab experiments, homework assignments, and examination questions.
  • Assist with lecturing as necessary.
  • Manage the kitchen lab space, including maintaining the inventory of equipment and food supplies, as well as ensuring food-safety status.
  • Coordinate with visiting guest chefs and lecturers, including managing their itineraries during campus visits.

Interestingly they are looking for someone with an advanced degree in physics, chemistry or a related field, preferably with a PhD. But they do not ask for knowledge about or interest in food which is kind of surprising… But they hope to get someone who speaks Spanish or Catalan – take that as a pointer to all the great work done by Ferran Adria, Jose Andres and Joan Roca, as well as the Alicia Foundation. The application deadline is April 4th. More information can be found on their homepage