Kitchen Science &Modern Culinary Insights Of The 21st Century
Contents• History of Food Science• What is Molecular Gastronomy• Taste perception• Aroma compounds• Food pairing• Hydrocolloids• E number basics• Useful resources
Food Science in History• Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794) French chemist. Recognised the importance of utilizing scientific methods to understand food. Studied the process of stock preparation in 1783• Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (1753-1814) Anglo-American physicist. His work included extensive investigations of the construction of fire places and kitchen utensils, Believed in improving the work of chefs by improving their tools in the kitchen using a scientific understanding• Jean Anthelme Brillat Savarin (1755-1826) French lawyer with a background and a great interest in chemistry and medicine. Brillat Savarin is the author of The physiology of taste from 1825, a classic book in gastronomy. The book takes a scientific and philosophical look at food and is concerned with good food and health issues• Justus von Liebig (1803-1873) German chemist. He started a production of commercial beef extract, which was to become the precursor of the bouillon cube• Edouard de Pomaine (1875-1964) French scientist and food writer. He explained the scientific principles of several traditional preparation techniques in order to demystify cooking . He argues that cooking can be considered a scientific technique• Nicholas Kurti (1908-1998). Hungarian physicist at Oxford University specialising in low- temperature physics A key person in exploring the gap between food science and cooking and defining a new sub-field of food science aiming at the restaurant and domestic kitchen.
Foundations of Molecular Gastronomy• In 1969 Nicholas Kurti gave a lecture with the title ‘The physicist in the kitchen’• In the 1980’s Hervé This, a French chemist, investigated culinary proverbs in his lab in Paris.• Harold McGee, an American food writer with a degree in science and literature, In 1984 the first edition of On Food and Cooking• In 1986 Hervé This and Nicholas Kurti collaborate on their cooking experiments• In 1992 Kurti, This and McGee organized “International Workshop of Molecular and Physical Gastronomy”
Popular Evolution of Molecular Gastronomy• 1997 elbulli workshop, the first systematic research centre for a three-star restaurant was opened• Since the late 90s Molecular Gastronomy has become popularised by the media as a result of the science focused culinary innovations of chefs including Ferran Adria, Pierre Gagnaire and Heston Blumenthal• 2003 Pere Castells, a scientist and gourmet joined the science department in elBullitaller. Establishing a dialogue with the science world• In 2006 popular chefs, known for their novel and scientific approach to wrote a ‘Statement on New Cookery’ in which they declared that ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ doesn’t describe their style of cooking or any type of cooking• 2009 Herve This introduces ‘Note by Note’ cooking• 2010 Harvard begins Food and Science course and lectures• 2011 Nathan Myhrvold, created Modernist Cuisine book
Defining Molecular Gastronomy• Molecular gastronomy is a particular branch of physical chemistry, looking at the mechanisms of phenomena occurring during culinary transformations• This discipline is not really interested in cuisine, and only looks for new phenomena, new mechanisms
Defining Molecular Gastronomy• In 1996, five goals of this science were identified:• (1) To collect and investigate old wives’ tales about cooking• (2) To model and scrutinize existing recipes• (3) To introduce new tools, products, and methods to cooking• (4) To invent new dishes using knowledge from the previous three aims• (5) to use the appeal of food to promote science• A more precise definition was given in 2003: it was recognized that all recipes are made of two parts. – The definition of the dish – ‘culinary precisions’
The Definition of a Dish • Complex Disperse Systems can be used to classify food preparations • O (oil, any liquid fat, such as olive oil, but also melted foie gras, melted cocoa butter) • G (gas, air) • W (water, that is, any aqueous solution) • S1, S2, S3… (solids of any kind)For example:The process of whipping cream can be written: O/W + G → (G+O)/W.Also: This formalism can be used to describe new physical systems :(G+O+S1)/W)/S2refers to a dish made of a gel that contains a water solution where air bubbles, solidparticles and oil droplets are dispersed
The Study of Precisions • Detailed descriptions of the processes involved in preparing a dish, technical indications along with old wives tales, proverbs, sayings and so on • Since 1980, more than 20,000 culinary precisions have been collected, mostly from French cookery booksFor example: Chefs cook green beans in boiling salty water; when the beans are cookedThey are strained, then immediately refreshed in icy cold water in order to, chefs say, “fixthe chlorophyll”. When asked, chefs admit that “fixing the chlorophyll” means keeping thebrilliant green colour of vegetablesBut they forget that raw green beans are actually less green than when they are cooked! Isicy cold water useful to keep the green colour? Having observed that cold water has noeffect on the visual aspect of green beans, in ordinary culinary conditions
Definition of New Cooking‘Statement of the ‘new cookery’ comprises four key points:• 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• We embrace innovation— new ingredients, techniques, appliances, information, and ideas—whenever it can make a real contribution to our cooking.• 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.
Definition of Note by Note Cooking• The idea is to use pure molecules to make new food• Its like a painter using primary colours or a musician composing note by note• It involves taking the molecules that compose ingredients used in cooking, and using these as the raw ingredients for a dish• “If you use pure compounds, you open up billions and billions of new possibilities” (This)• Investigating flavours and dishes which were never envisioned using traditional food ingredients
Definition of Modernist Cuisine• Dining is a dialogue• Creativity trumps tradition• Break rules; surprise diners• Be inventive – mere copying is uninteresting• Science and technology are sources of inspiration and tools, but are only a means to an end• Great food is built from great ingredients• How foods are grown, harvested and slaughtered matters• New ingredients create new possibilities
Modern Culinary Insights Of The 21st Century
Taste PerceptionTaste Flavour• Each of these taste sensations probably evolved to provide information about • When food is consumed, the interaction foods that are particularly desirable (e.g., of taste, odor and textural feeling provides salt, sugar, amino acids) or undesirable an overall sensation which is best defined (e.g., toxic alkaloids) by the English word “flavor• Taste buds, are bud-shaped groups of • Flavor results from compounds that are cells. Tastants, the molecules being tasted, divided into two broad classes: enter a small pore at the top of the taste Those responsible for taste and those bud responsible for odors• Each of these taste buds is capable of detecting all five “flavors”.
Taste PerceptionPalatability Food Acceptability• Our experience of foods is • In addition to the actual signals from mediated through all our senses: the sensors, there are further, these include all the familiar senses (pain, touch, sight, hearing, taste, perhaps surprising ways in which we and smell) perceive the environment around us which can significantly affect the• Texture plays a major role in our flavor of the food we are eating recognition of foods • Try eating the same food using either• Vision is active in texture high-quality china plates and steel or perception when we see the food silver cutlery or paper plates and plastic cutlery; the food seems to• Additionally, audition, somesthesis, taste better with the perceived and kinesthesis are active during quality of the utensils handling of the food
Aroma Compounds• Aroma substances are volatile compounds which are perceived by the odor receptor sites of the smell organ• When eating a food the initial olfactory stimulation takes place as we smell the aroma of the food before the food is in the mouth (orthonasal detection)• Olfactory stimulation takes place via the throat after being released by chewing (retronasal detection)• There is the hypothesis that if two foods have one or more key odorants in common it might very well be that go well together and perhaps even compliment each other
Food Pairing• Foods may combine with each other when they have major flavour compounds (chemicals) in common• The more compounds food products share the better they should match• Compound concentration and the detection threshold• A recent Harvard University study of 56,000 recipes concluded that food pairing hypothesis holds in Western Europe and North America. But in Southern Europe and East Asia a converse principle of antipairing seems to be at work• Food pairing results are dominated by just a few ingredients in each region. In North America these are foods such as milk, butter, cocoa, vanilla, cream, and egg. In East Asia they are foods like beef, ginger, pork, cayenne, chicken, and onion.
Hydrocolloids• Hydrocolloids are often called gums• They are naturally present or added to control the functional properties of aqueous foodstuffs• Uses include: – Thickening – Gelling – Water binding – Emulsion stabilization• The degree with which the hydrocolloid solutions mix with saliva, determined by their degree of chain entanglement, determines flavor perception
Hydrocolloids• Many hydrocolloids are derived from natural sources, such as seaweed, seeds, roots, tree sap, fruit peels, etc.• They have the ability to thicken and form gels at very low concentrations• With the exception of gelatin (which is a protein), all hydrocolloids are polysaccharides, or complex sugars• Examples: Corn flour, flour, gelatine, Agar-Agar, Pectin, Carrageen, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Sodium Alginate
E Numbers• E numbers idnetify the 319 food additives approved for a specific use in Europe.• They have different uses, including colours, preservatives, stabilizers, gelling agents, acidity regulators, flavour enhancers and sweeteners.• Some additives are naturally occurring and others are manufactured by the chemical industry.• Our bodies naturally create 20 different E number compounds, whether or not the food that we eat contains them.• Our bodies contain over 90 different E compounds sourced from natural unprocessed food.• 47 E numbers are approved for use in organic food (which means food can contain these and still qualify as ‘organic’)• The WHO (World Health Organisation) establishes ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake)• MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) is one of the world’s most widely used flavour enhancers and the world’s most demonized food additive. However there is no robust clinical evidence to prove that there’s much wrong with MSG. Our bodies produce 50g of glutamate every day independently of food we eat.
2011/2012 Culinary Trends• Chefs are the new historians – Grant Achatz’s -menu titled “Paris, 1906,” - the cooking of Auguste Escoffier – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, includes dates next to each item. – Montreal’s Joe Beef restaurant devotes an entire chapter to the vanished cuisine of North America’s railway dining cars• “Rotten” doesn’t have to be a dirty word – Long welcomed in cheese, pickles, cured meats and sauces – Chefs are perfecting house-fermented foods like soy, miso paste and kimchi – David Chang (Momofuku chain) gave a lecture about edible bacteria at Harvard last month• Elite chefs and producers learn to share – Harvard lectures – Omnivore Food Festival – Gastronomica
2011/2012 Culinary Trends• Vegetables are the new meat – Greater emphasis on respecting the integrity and status of vegetables• The word “restaurant” is over – Pop-ups (Thomas Keller – Harrods, Pierre Koffmann - Selfridges) – Food trucks (Jun Tanaka – Street Kitchen) – Supper clubs (Nuno Mendes – The Loft, Stuart Langley - Disappearing Dining Club• “Local” doesn’t just mean local any more – Noma• Wine is so overrated – Beer & cocktail pairings