When people hear the words culinary, cooking, or food, they typically associate it with classic French cuisine. Most of the time people relate and associate food with what has been done in the past, sticking to traditional ways. Now, we are in an age where not only is the world changing, but so it each regional cuisine along with it. People are looking to the future, merging the worlds of science and culinary together.
Molecular Gastronomy is not just a trend, but it a movement, and a big one at that. We have a younger generation inspiring previous ones to think and create meals that are ‘outside the box.’ You can now go out to eat and have a full Thanksgiving meal made entirely in a caviar form that will trick your senses into thinking you have an overflowing plate of turkey, mashed potatoes and so on.
As the population begins to shift with more and more Baby Boomers entering Long Term Care & Assisted Living Facilities, so too will the meals that we serve. Some of the future elders may have “experienced” meals like the Thanksgiving caviar I mentioned earlier; that is what it’s becoming, a dining experience. When we go out to eat it’s not only for the food but also for the “show” that comes along with it. We are seeing more “smoking” being done tableside with a cold smoker to infuse your food with the essence of an ingredient. This is just another example of how Chefs are using food and new techniques to trick your senses. You may think that you’re eating banana ice cream, when it’s simply vanilla ice cream with the essence of banana chips smoked into the dessert. Molecular Gastronomy is bringing the guests and restaurant staff closer together. It is creating more face time with the server because there are more ways to present a meal tableside.
If you can picture this, it will shed some insight into what I am talking about:
You read the menu and order the Chicken Noodle Soup because that was your favorite as a kid, or when you’re sick. The waiter comes out with a cylinder looking contraption, with 2 glass containers one above the other. There are some bones, vegetables, and herbs in the top one, and some liquid on the bottom. Right away your mind races to comprehend what’s happening, thinking you ordered the wrong meal, “This isn’t how Mama served her chicken noodle soup.” The waiter puts a small flame under the bottom glass container, and the liquid begins to move upward to the glass with the vegetable and seasonings.
The waiter leaves and comes back with a covered bowl with just noodles, diced chicken, and some garnish to accent the dish. Now you’re wondering if there’s there some assembly required with this meal. At this point, the waiter removes the flame and begins to pour the broth into your bowl. As he finishes, he says, “Bon appetite, your chicken noodle soup is served.” Cautiously you take a bite not sure what to expect, and then it hits you. All the time that broth was being infused with the contents of the top glass, it has now created a meal that you will never forget. The flavor profiles are deep and rich. Instead of being brought to you in a bowl, ready to eat, your soup became an experience, a show, prepared in front of you and adding a new element to your dining experience. That ladies and gentleman is what Molecular Gastronomy is all about!
Photos, top to bottom: 1) Andrew Merklinger CEC, CDM, CFPP 2) Watermelon Kiwi Mozzarella Rubix Cubes 3) Fruit Platter 4) Infusing Apple Tarts with Applewood Smoke 5) Mint ‘Caviar’ on Mint Leaf
50 Jeanne Drive
Newburgh, NY 12550