molecular gastronomy


  • [10] Precursors[edit] The idea of using techniques developed in chemistry to study food is not a new one, for instance the discipline of food science has existed for many

  • Kurti and This acknowledged this fact and though they decided that a new, organized and specific discipline should be created within food science that investigated the processes
    in regular cooking (as food science was primarily concerned with the nutritional properties of food and developing methods to process food on an industrial scale), there are several notable examples throughout history of investigations into
    the science of everyday cooking recorded as far as back to 18th century.

  • Eventually, the shortened term “molecular gastronomy” became the name of the approach, based on exploring the science behind traditional cooking methods.

  • Despite their central role in the popularisation of science-based cuisine, both Adria and Blumenthal have expressed their frustration with the common mis-classification of
    their food and cooking as “molecular gastronomy”,[33] On 10 December 2006 Blumenthal and Harold McGee published a ‘Statement on the “New Cookery” in the Observer in order to summarise what they saw as the central tenets of modern cuisine.

  • Chefs In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the term started to be used to describe a new style of cooking in which some chefs began to explore new possibilities in the kitchen
    by embracing science, research, technological advances in equipment and various natural gums and hydrocolloids produced by the commercial food processing industry.

  • [29][30][31] It has since been used to describe the food and cooking of a number of famous chefs, though many of them do not accept the term as a description of their style
    of cooking.

  • [21][22] This has published several books in French, four of which have been translated into English, including Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, Kitchen
    Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking, Cooking: The Quintessential Art, and Building a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary Constructivism.

  • In 1992, it became the title for a set of workshops held in Erice, Italy (originally titled “Science and Gastronomy”)[4] that brought together scientists and professional
    cooks for discussions about the science behind traditional cooking preparations.

  • The creation of the discipline of molecular gastronomy was intended to bring together what had previously been fragmented and isolated investigations into the chemical and
    physical processes of cooking into an organized discipline within food science, to address what the other disciplines within food science either do not cover, or cover in a manner intended for scientists rather than cooks.

  • The one-time wife of a physicist, Thomas had many friends in the scientific community and an interest in the science of cooking.

  • In the foreword of the 346-page book, the authors state that, “The main purpose of this book is to give an understanding of the chemical principles upon which good practices
    in food preparation and preservation are based.

  • [15] Belle Lowe[edit] In 1932, Belle Lowe, then the professor of Food and Nutrition at Iowa State College, published a book titled Experimental Cookery: From The Chemical
    And Physical Standpoint which became a standard textbook for home economics courses across the United States.

  • Ferran Adria of El Bulli and Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se signed up to this and together released a joint statement in 2006 clarifying their approach to
    cooking,[32] stating that the term “molecular gastronomy” was coined in 1992 for a single workshop that did not influence them, and that the term does not describe any style of cooking.

  • Using molecular gastronomy to help the general public understand the contribution of science to society Hervé This later recognized points 3, 4, and 5 as being not entirely
    scientific endeavors (more application of technology and educational), and has revised the list.

  • The book is an exhaustively researched look into the science of everyday cooking referencing hundreds of sources and including many experiments.

  • [42] Other names for the style of cuisine practiced by these chefs include: • Avant-garde cuisine[43] • Culinary constructivism[44] • Cocina de vanguardia – term used by Ferran
    Adrià[45] • Emotional cuisine[46] • Experimental cuisine • Forward-thinking movement – term used at Grant Achatz’s Alinea[47] • Kitchen science[3] • Modern cuisine[48] • Modernist cuisine, which shares its name with a cookbook by Nathan Myhrvold,[49]
    and which is endorsed by Ferran Adrià of El Bulli and David Chang • Molecular cuisine[50][51] • Molecular cooking • New cuisine • New cookery[32] • Nueva cocina • Progressive cuisine[52] • Techno-emotional cuisine—term preferred by elBulli
    research and development chef Ferran Adrià[53] • Technologically forward cuisine[54] • Vanguard cuisine[55] • Techno-cuisine[43] No singular name has ever been applied in consensus, and the term “molecular gastronomy” continues to be used
    often as a blanket term to refer to any and all of these things—particularly in the media.

  • He gives free and public seminars on molecular gastronomy every month, and annually gives a public and free course on molecular gastronomy.

  • Food science has primarily been concerned with industrial food production and, while the disciplines may overlap, they are considered separate areas of investigation.

  • [18] That same year, he held a presentation for the Royal Society of London (also entitled “The Physicist in the Kitchen”) in which he stated:[19] I think it is a sad reflection
    on our civilization that while we can and do measure the temperature in the atmosphere of Venus we do not know what goes on inside our soufflés.

  • He was one of the first television cooks in the UK, hosting a black-and-white television show in 1969 entitled The Physicist in the Kitchen, where he demonstrated techniques
    such as using a syringe to inject hot mince pies with brandy in order to avoid disturbing the crust.

  • [11][12] Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (1753–1814) Marie-Antoine Carême (1784–1833)[edit] The concept of molecular gastronomy was perhaps presaged by Marie-Antoine Carême,
    one of the most famous French chefs, who said in the early 19th century that when making a food stock “the broth must come to a boil very slowly, otherwise the albumin coagulates, hardens; the water, not having time to penetrate the meat,
    prevents the gelatinous part of the osmazome from detaching itself.”

  • History There are many branches of food science that study different aspects of food, such as safety, microbiology, preservation, chemistry, engineering, and physics.

  • Until the advent of molecular gastronomy, there was no branch dedicated to studying the chemical processes of cooking in the home and in restaurants.

  • [11] Areas of investigation[edit] Prime topics for study include[27] • How ingredients are changed by different cooking methods • How all the senses play their own roles in
    our appreciation of food • The mechanisms of aroma release and the perception of taste and flavor • How and why we evolved our particular taste and flavor sense organs and our general food likes and dislikes • How cooking methods affect the
    eventual flavor and texture of food ingredients • How new cooking methods might produce improved results of texture and flavor • How our brains interpret the signals from all our senses to tell us the “flavor” of food • How our enjoyment of
    food is affected by other influences, our environment, our mood, how it is presented, who prepares it, etc.

  • [42] A 2006 open letter by Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and Harold McGee published in The Times used no specific term, referring only to “a new approach
    to cooking” and “our cooking”.

  • [16][17] Elizabeth Cawdry Thomas[edit] Though rarely credited, the origins of the Erice workshops (originally entitled “Science and Gastronomy”) can be traced back to cooking
    teacher Elizabeth Cawdry Thomas, who studied at Le Cordon Bleu in London and ran a cooking school in Berkeley, California.

  • This remained the sole director of the subsequent workshops from 1999, and continued his research in the field of molecular gastronomy at the Inra-AgroParisTech International
    Centre for Molecular Gastronomy, remaining in charge of organizing the international meetings.

  • Hervé This[edit] Hervé This started collecting “culinary precisions” (old kitchen wives’ tales and cooking tricks) the 24th of March 1980, and started testing these precisions
    to see which held up; his collection eventually numbered some 25,000.

  • Raymond Roussel (1877-1933)[edit] French writer Raymond Roussel, in his 1914 story “L’Allée aux lucioles” (“The Alley of Fireflies”), introduces a fictionalized version of
    French chemist Antoine de Lavoisier who, in the story, creates an apparently edible semi-permeable coating (“invol …”) that he uses to encase a tiny frozen sculpture made from one type of wine, which is immersed in another type of wine.

  • It is a branch of food science that approaches the preparation and enjoyment of nutrition from the perspective of a scientist at the scale of atoms, molecules, and mixtures.

  • [9] After Kurti’s death in 1998, the name of the Erice workshops were changed by This to “The International Workshop on Molecular Gastronomy ‘N.

  • [23][24][25] Objectives The objectives of molecular gastronomy, as defined by Hervé This, are seeking for the mechanisms of culinary transformations and processes (from a
    chemical and physical point of view) in three areas:[8][26] 1. the social phenomena linked to culinary activity 2. the artistic component of culinary activity 3. the technical component of culinary activity The original fundamental objectives
    of molecular gastronomy were defined by This in his doctoral dissertation as:[26] 1.

  • Myhrvold believes that his cooking style should not be called molecular gastronomy.

  • [32] In February 2011, Nathan Myhrvold published Modernist Cuisine, which led many chefs to further classify molecular gastronomy versus modernist cuisine.

  • In 1988, while attending a meeting at the Ettore Majorana Center for Scientific Culture in Erice, Thomas had a conversation with Professor Ugo Valdrè of the University of
    Bologna, who agreed with her that the science of cooking was an undervalued subject, and encouraged Kurti to organize a workshop at the Ettore Majorana Center.


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