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Molecular Cooking: What You Need to Know About the Trend

September 16, 2011 Le Cordon Bleu Miami 0 Comments

Molecular Cooking: What You Need to Know About the Trend

Mr. Wizard meets Julia Childs in the new super trendy world of molecular cooking. More science than cooking; Miami culinary chefs are turning liquids to solids and solids to foam, creating some of the most unique and interesting dishes to grace restaurant tables in a long time. If you are unfamiliar with the wizardry of molecular cooking here’s what you need to know about the trend.

Molecular Cooking vs. Molecular Gastronomy

To understand molecular cooking first we must look at molecular gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy is a discipline that examines the chemical and physical processes that occur while food is cooking. Practiced by chefs and scientists alike the term was coined in 1992 by the fathers of molecular gastronomy French chemist Hervé This and Hungarian physicist Nicholas Kurti. Molecular cooking is the practical application of this research that has been embraced by many chefs and cooking schools around the world.

Molecular Cooking

No discussion of molecular cooking would be complete without mention of Chef Ferran Adria and his restaurant in Roses, Spain el Bulli. Considered the father of molecular cooking, Adria took the studies conducted by This and Kurti and turned them into out of this world dishes that people travel across the globe to sample. Perhaps most famous for his pasta-less “pea ravioli” he is considered an eccentric master of experimental cooking. Other Adria classics include: “culinary foam”, made only from the main ingredient and air pushed through a canister with nitrous oxide, he has made everything from mushroom, to beetroot, to a variety of meat flavored variations, liquid olives, and the very popular fruit caviar.

Materials Used in Molecular Cooking

The tools and ingredients used in molecular cooking would look more at home in a mad scientist’s laboratory than in a kitchen. Because of the exact and occasionally dangerous nature of this cuisine it is really best to begin by learning the techniques in a cooking program. Here are just a few of the ingredients and pieces of equipment you will encounter.

Sodium Alginate: Extracted from seaweed, sodium alginate works as an emulsifier and is used to increase viscosity.

Calcium Chloride: Used as a pickling agent, stabilizer and firming agent.

Immersion Blender: Used to dissolve the sodium alginate.

Xanthan: A thickening agent that work well with items containing a high salt or alcohol content.

Whip Cream Dispensers and N2O cartridges: for making foams and airs.

These are just a few of the wide variety of emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners you will encounter if you enroll in a molecular cooking program. The Miami culinary scene is known for its exciting and trendy food and molecular cooking is certainly no exception.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Miami, Florida area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Miami for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.


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