Posts Tagged ‘Heston Blumenthal’

“Dialogos de Cocina” with molecular gastronomy webcasts

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Dialogos de Cocina took place in San Sebastian, Spain, on March 12 and 13. Monday’s program featured a session on Technology, Technique and Science which should be of great interest to the molecular gastronomy community. The sessions have been made available as webcasts available in English, French and Spanish. Look out for the following topics:

Monday, March 12

16.00-16.30
Other Ways of Thinking, Toni Massanes (Fundación Alicia).

16.40-17.10
Other Ways of Understanding, Antonio Duch (Fundación Azti).

17.20-17.50
Other Ways of Doing it, Harold McGee.

18.00-18.30
Other Ways of Seeing it, Davide Cassi.

18:40-19:40
What can Science Offer us in Addition to Techniques and Technology?,
Round table discussion with Toni Massanes (Fundación Alicia), Antonio Duch (Fundación Azti), Harold Macgee (writer), Davide Cassi (scientist), Heston Blumenthal (chef).

Update: Kate Hill at IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) has written an extensive report on the meeting.

Blumenthal: “Molecular gastronomy is dead”

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

As a follow up to last weeks statement from Adria, Blumenthal, Keller and McGee (article, my comments) The Guardian have interviewed Heston Blumenthal. He now says that MG creates artifical boundries: “Molecular makes it sound complicated,” he says. “And gastronomy makes it sound elitist.”. And Heston isn’t keen on either (at least not anymore…).

According to Hervé This, there’s still some 25.000 cooking instructions left to test! And when it comes to the understanding of how the sense of smell works, we’ve just got started. So sorry Heston, I think it’s a bit early to dismiss molecular gastronomy already now.

Adria, Blumenthal, Keller and McGee with statement on “new cooking”

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

On Sunday, November 10 2006, in The Guardian, Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and Harold McGee shared a statment on the “new cooking” with the readers. They feel “widely misunderstood” and argue that molecular gastronomy is “overemphasized and sensationalized”. Quite a surprising statement from people who have benefited greatly from the increased attention that molecular gastronomy has received lately. On the other hand – many journalists still tend to be stuck up with Heston Blumenthals snail porridge and egg & bacon ice cream, so I can agree that molecular gastronomy is not always properly understood. The four main points in their statement (with my comments) are:

  • Three basic principles guide our cooking: excellence, openness, and integrity.
  • Our cooking values tradition, builds on it, and along with tradition is part of the ongoing evolution of our craft.
  • Well certainly no one can disagree with the first statement… As for tradition – of course cooking has evolved a lot over the last couple thousand years – so again I would say that this is quite obvious. What molecular gastronomy (in my opinion) is about is, from a scientific viewpoint, to increase the understanding of what is going on. Tradition tells us nothing about this whereas science has told us a lot!

  • We embrace innovation – new ingredients, techniques, appliances, information, and ideas – whenever it can make a real contribution to our cooking.
  • I guess this is where molecular gastronomy (or the-science-previously-known-as-molecular-gastronomy as ABK&M might call it) comes in. I note that they only embrace it though if it “can make a real contribution” to their cooking. In other words, they embrace they technological aspects of molecular gastronomy which according to Hervé This’ latest definition isn’t really a part of molecular gastronomy.

  • We believe that cooking can affect people in profound ways, and that a spirit of collaboration and sharing is essential to true progress in developing this potential.
  • Again – nothing really new here… except that one could always wish for even more sharing and openness regarding techniques and ingredients. But all in all ABK&M have been good at publishing their recipes and findings (as should be evident from the books listed at khymos.org). Of course this also alludes to the intellectual property debate which was started of by this article.

    So what do we make of this? First thing is that none of them are scientists (save McGee who holds a BSc in physics and who BTW has defined molecular gastronomy as “the scientific study of deliciousness”). In a way it’s understandable that they don’t want to be viewed upon as scientists but rather artists. But it is a little strange though, because the article does have a negative stance on molecular gastronomy. This is surprising from a group of people who have both benefited from and contributed to molecular gastronomy by adding an artistic component to the underlying science. Secondly I wonder if it’s about fashion as well. Perhaps the air is going out of the balloon now? If molecular gastronomy is not í¼bercool anymore, it’s time to move on with something new to attract guests. But is it really time to “reject the cult of molecular gastronomy” (Vanessa Thorpe of The Guardian, in the article “Mad scientist? No, I’m just seroious about food”)? If you ask me, my answer is “No”!

    TGIF: Molecular gastronomy with a twist

    Friday, November 17th, 2006

    Heston Blumenthal was recently featured in “Private Eye”, a british satire magazine (found via Aidan Brooks). They included the following recipe for boiled eggs:

    heston blumensilly

    A further discussion of boiled eggs from the perspective of molecular gastronomy is found here.

    Flavor pairing – try this at home!

    Sunday, October 1st, 2006

    If two different foods share one or more volatile molecules, chances are they can taste pretty nice when eaten together. A further discussion of the science behind can be found here. I justed wanted to share a picture of the simplest possible way this can be done. White chocolate/black caviar (top left – this is one of Heston Blumenthals signature combinations!), strawberries and coriander leafs, pineapple and blue cheese, and banana and parsley. Definitely very strange, but when eaten together, the tastes more or less blend together. Convince yourself and try this at home!

    examples of flavor pairing

    Any readers with fantasy to create exciting dishes based on such flavor pairings? Suggestions and links are welcome!

    New book by Heston Blumenthal: Perfection

    Friday, September 15th, 2006

    Blumenthal: Perfection

    Look out for the new book by Heston Blumenthal to appear in October 2006: Perfection. The book is based on an eight part BBC series where Heston Blumenthal, chef at The Fat Duck and front player within the field of molecular gastronomy, travels (around the world?) to find out as much as possible about eight classic yet basic dishes:

    1. Fish and Chips
    2. Bangers and Mash
    3. Spag Bol
    4. Risotto
    5. Roast Beef
    6. Steak and Salad
    7. Pizza
    8. Treacle Tart and Ice Cream

    From the book description at Amazon (where the book already can be preordered), I guess the book might resemble the must-read books by Jeffrey Steingarten: The man who ate everything and It must’ve been something I ate.

    Simple is often best, and when combined with chemical kitchen know how, the results can be – yes – perfect! Needless to say, I look forward to read the book.