If you ever watch cooking shows like Chopped or Top Chef, every now and then, a contestant like Chef Richard Blais creates a dish using molecular gastronomy.
It's a term that is unfamiliar to some event planners while others are incorporating dishes created through this innovative approach into their menus.
What is Molecular Gastronomy?
Some call it culinary physics. Others refer to it as multi-sensory cuisine. Whatever you call it, think of it as gastronomy meets alchemy, science meets culinary arts to transform food flavors, colors, textures, and presentation dramatically.
This avant-garde approach, which creates cuisine that appeals to all senses, originated with France's Herve This, considered to be "The Father of Molecular Gastronomy" and Nicholas Kurti, a physicist from Hungary who first used the term in 1988. TV is spreading awareness about it and bringing it to a new generation of chefs and diners.
Some common molecular gastronomy techniques include:
- Foams: Similar to a meringue, cheese, cream, fruit, and vegetables are transformed and served with a dish.
- Anti-Griddle: Instead of heating up a dish on a traditional griddle, an anti-griddle fast freezes it.
- Flash Frozen: fruits or vegetables are frozen in liquid nitrogen preserving the texture
- Sous-vide: meat or vegetables are vacuum-packed in plastic bags and submerged in a hot water
The deconstructed bagel, cream cheese, and lox pictured here uses the next 3 techniques.
- Deconstructed: The key ingredients of a dish are served instead of serving the dish as a whole. For example, instead of serving a shepherd's pie as a whole, the potatoes, meat and vegetables would be beautifully presented on the plate.
- Faux caviar: fruit juice, tea or other liquids are transformed into balls resembling caviar through a process called spherification. Liquid is preserved within a gel exterior.
- Edible Paper: Soybeans, rice or potato starch is used to create a paper thin wrap
What dishes and menu selections can event planners expect when chefs use molecular gastronomy techniques? Take a peek.
On Wednesday, I'll discuss venues where can you find chefs that specialize in molecular gastronomy.
For more information about molecular gastronomy and venues that specialize in it, also read Corporate Event Venues with Specialty Dining Concepts and SCAMPER Your Way to Success.