Molecular Gastronomy- The Sciene
WHAT?? No, I’m not going to start out with the cliché definition, not even from Webster’s, but the Science of Food is what this is all about; yup, science as in Chemistry, Physics, and even Biology. I’ve always considered the sciences just one side of the creative food process with art being the other; kind of a right brain, left brain phenomenon.
Professional chefs and creative home cooks focus on the art of food creation and the food scientists focus, of course, on the science. So, as the introduction to this blog, I’m going to discuss or just share scientific principles which support the culinary arts and hopefully enable greater creativity on your part. But how can understanding the science underlying the preparation of a masterful feast enhance creativity?
There is true beauty in the creation of wonderful foods. It is an art and true God given talent is exhibited by all the great professional chefs. The inherent skills exhibited in knowing the aroma of perfectly browned breads or the touch of steaks broiled just to medium rare are developed through training and practice of the culinary arts.
But understanding the physics of heat transfer and the chemistry in the reactions that cause the browning of the bread crust and conversion of raw muscle to juicy, perfectly broiled steak can enhance those skills and provide greater creative opportunities. Chefs who ascribe to molecular gastronomy and apply science in the preparation of the menu items they serve to their customers have truly stellar creations.
Understanding protein denaturation enables greatly stabilized foams for desserts which last longer for more customer enjoyment. The use of hydrocolloids (molecules which react with water to form gels or thicken) which gel upon heating and melt as they cool provides unique sauce delivery with the hot entrée. Much has been written and talked about food safety in the press in the past several months and while that has mostly been about the recall of products from major manufacturers, smaller producers and even many food service establishments were impacted.
The microbiology of preparing safe foods is really the application of the biological sciences to cooking and handling foods. I will be writing about these and many other topics in this blog on a regular basis. I also want to answer questions you may have and perhaps even generate ongoing discussions about culinary topics that are of interest to you.
Food is my passion, my life’s work, livelihood and where I play every day. I am very fortunate that I am able to combine the art of the culinarian with the experimentation of the scientist. I want to use this blog to share that love and excitement with you.
I would like to welcome Barbara Garter to the blogging platform, she is a extremely talented food scientist with a Master’s degree in Food Science. For nearly 30 years, she has been developing food products for major food companies and restaurant chains applying the science and art of food creation. You can expect to find regular contributions from Barbara as time passes us by.