lundi 20 octobre 2014

In NYC


Experimental Cuisine Collective
Experimental Cuisine Collective
October 2014 meeting
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Event of Interest
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a sponsor of reThink Food, a groundbreaking conference co-organized by The Culinary Institute of America and the MIT Media Lab taking place November 7-9 in the Napa Valley. Use the code RTFECC for a 10 percent discount when you register.
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Hello all,
 
  
We hope that you had a wonderful summer and early fall since we last saw you in June! Our first meeting of the academic year will take place on Thursday, October 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. (note the time!) in the Chemistry Department at NYU, room 1003 (31 Washington Place, between Washington Square Park and Greene Street). You will need a photo ID to enter the building.   
Building on his pioneering work in the science of molecular gastronomy, physical chemist Hervé This will introduce us to note-by-note cooking. 

Just as a modern composer builds a symphony out of waves of pure sound, so a meal can be created by a modern chef using pure molecular compounds to introduce novel consistencies, colors, flavors, and tastes. For instance, imagine the possibilities of limonene, a colorless liquid hydrocarbon that smells like citrus, in imparting citrus notes to a dish where it was not feasible before; imagine using sotolon, with this wonderful odor of nuts; imagine a blue food having the freshness of cucumber, the pungency of wasabi, or the crunchinesss of an apple.

Note-by-note cooking suggests new solutions to problems of nutrition, energy use, and water shortages, allowing for a more environmentally sustainable approach to the culinary arts.

Hervé This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. His translated works include The Science of the OvenBuilding a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary ConstructivismKitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking; and Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, all published by Columbia University Press.
 
Please RSVP at ecc092014.eventbrite.comA link is also posted on our website. If you RSVP and can no longer make it, please let me know right away so that your seat can be released---thank you! 

All my best,


Anne 

----
Anne E. McBride
Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective 


ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTAL CUISINE COLLECTIVE
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a working group that assembles scholars, scientists, chefs, writers, journalists, performance artists, and food enthusiasts. We launched in April 2007, as a result of the collaboration of Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy Bentley of the nutrition, food studies, and public health department at New York University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall aim is to develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach that employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and sciences to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.

Visit the ECC online at www.experimentalcuisine.com. 

Forward email



This email was sent to herve.this@paris.inra.fr by aemcbride@gmail.com |  


Experimental Cuisine Collective | New York University | 411 Lafayette Street | 5th Floor | New York | NY | 10003

vendredi 17 octobre 2014

Computers !

Which technology helped me most? Computers !
Indeed, in order to understand the answer, we have to consider the job that I am doing. All lies in the "scientific method", which consists in :
1- identification of a particular phenomenon
2- quantitative determination of the phenomenon
3- grouping the data into synthetic laws
4- inducing theory
5- looking for a testable consequence of the theory
6-testing the consequence experimentally
Of course, I don't need technology for the first step: here I just need to speak to cooks (sorry, I don't call them chefs, because they are not my boss and I hate this power relationship in the culinary circles).
Then, for the quantitative determination of the phenomena, the "characterisation", we use such machines such as NMR, GC-MS, etc. In the old times, analysis was very cumbersome, and for example, with the first machines, with paper printed after the electronics, we had to cut the signals with cissors before weighing the paper in order to get a value of the area under the signal.
But here, one parenthesis. I answered "computers", but indeed I teach that there are 3 big ideas for science and technology :
- use a balance
- always try to find a resonance if you want to make something precise (and here electronics becomes important, not only computers)
- use the "method of zero", and here electronics also is useful.
But let's come back to number 2: thanks to computers, we avoid plotting, and we can calculate with signals. Indeed the sole software (almost) in my computer is Maple, a wonderful software because it allows to make formal calculations as you would do with pencil and paper, but cleaner, more easily, etc.
Number 3: again computers are important, because you have to manipulate data. And here I remember that I have to explain why computers are important for calculation. When the trajectory of the moon was calculated by Delaunay, about one century ago (I should check this), the calculation was many months long! Pages and pages. Today, you just press the "enter" button, and it's done.
Number 4  : here we have to create a "discourse" by induction, we have to dream, to think, to invent... and as it's natural language, computers (and word processing softwares are so wonderful). Remember(you were not born;-) ) the time when you had to write with pencil and paper, or the time when you used typemachines! For my first book (a textbook for mathematics), I dropped hundreds of papers sheets in order to get a clean manuscript. Sure, I am not very smart, but anyway, it's a fact, and today, I am so happy to be able to use the return key in order to erase what I don't like, what is not right!
Number 5 : this is again calculation, and again Maple.
Number 6: and we come back to experiment, and analysis, and electronics.


mardi 7 octobre 2014

You said "healthy food" ?

Healthy food ? Healthier food ? 
 
Do you really think that people to eat healthy food ? I don't.
 
At the same time, they buy organic food... and they don't peel potatoes ! During the hot times, they eat BBQ, and they smoke, drink.
They want unsaturated fats, but eat chocolate.
And finally (indeed not finally, but the last exemple) there is no safe nutritional rule, except eating everything in small quantities, diverse, and make exercice, which is the contrary to what people do.
Then "healthy" ?

mardi 23 septembre 2014

Some facts on molecular gastronomy

Today, I got an email from a Spanish journalist, and he asked me this information :





Facts
Hervé This



Introduction.
Many things are said about Molecular Gastronomy and molecular cooking as well, and also about science, technology, technique, engineering… but I see much confusion.
I also see many mistakes, on which some wrong ideas are based. Honest people don't understand anything, in particular because so many people have a money or power interest to go on with confusion.
For example, on Internet, I see MG, and even my biography or pictures of me in the middle of advertising for various products (that i don't sell, because remember that I don't sell anything, having no shares in company). I don't say that the products are bad, but I say that MG and myself have nothing to do in such places. In particular, I want to say, and say again, that MG is not the same as molecular cooking, and that no chef is doing MG !
I am lacking time for fighting all the wrong theories and ideas, and I cannot fight all the wrong behaviours in this world. But sometimes I am upset : for example, I was able to see that some people organizing a conference said that I cancelled… whereas I was never invited ! For example, I could hear to myself at the tv, answering to a journalist that I had never met ! And I was said to be part of a political party to which I don't belong (a brain is not needed to belong to a party ; a spine is enough, said Einstein).
For all these reasons, and because some facts should be given, here are some facts.

History
For me, all began the 16 March 1980, evening, when I was preparing a cheese soufflé for friends who were invited for dinner. At that time, I was still a student at the Ecole de physique et chimie industrielle de Paris, (today l'ESPCI ParisTech), and we were used, with four friends, to work on our exams in my flat, while I was cooking for the group.
This particular day, I wanted to make a roquefort cheese soufflé, and I was using a Elle recipe. It was advised to cook first butter, roquefort, flour, and to make a roux, adding milk. Then the recipe was advising to add the egg yolks two by two.
For a rational mind, this sentence was strange : why adding the yolks two by two ? Why not all the yolks together ? Because I could not see the reason, I put all the yolks together, and the soufflé was a failure (I know today that this failure had nothing to do with this question of egg yolks). Indeed the failure was not complete, but anyway the soufflé was not as it should have been.
I did not focus on that, but I was not very proud of the result.
The next Sunday, the 23 March 1980, having again friends for dinner, I decided to make the same soufflé, and to improve. At that time, I needed a recipe, so that I used again the Elle recipe… and I could see, again, this sentence, « add the yolks two by two ». Because the last soufflé was not successful, I decided to test the idea, but I thought that if adding the yolks two by two was better than altogether, one by one should be better, and this is what I did… and the result was better. The next day, I decided to stay at home, and to make another experiment. This particular day I took a new notebook, and I decided to collect the « culinary old wive tales » (that I call today the « culinary precisions »).
For this work, with experimental tests, I had the lab that I am having at home since the age of 6 yeas old : since that time, my pocket money had been divided into half for this lab, and half for books. This lab was no longer in use, because in my Grand Ecole, we had better equipment, but suddenly, it was useful again, and I was so happy about that.
And this is how I began collecting culinary precisions from all culinary books taht I could get. I wanted to focus on all these strange ideas, because I realized taht it was strange that sometimes mistakes were transmitted. I wanted to make clearer and more reliable knowledge. For my tests, generally the main tools were thermocouple, microscope, balance, pH-meter.
At the same time, I got a job in the Belin Scientific Publishing Company first, then at Pour la Science (the French edition of Scientific American), and I was happy to be the editor of articles in food science and technology, but also in maths, chemistry, physics, physical chemistry, meeing the best scientists of France, and getting more and more scientific knowledge. I was living a double life, with scientific publishing on daytime, and my lab work on nighttime, week ends, etc. Very fast, this was known, and this is why probably I was invited to give seminars on my scientific research, first at the École normale supérieure de Paris, then at ESPCI, and this at that time also that I began collecting material for my book « Kitchen mysteries » (published in 1992 only).

In 1986, I met Nicholas Kurti. The ad officer of our magazine was coming from Europhysics Letters, where Nicholas was the editor. At that time, he was 78 years old. He was not any longer at the Clarendon Laboratory, of which he was a former director, but 400 meter away from there (a rule, in Oxford), in the Department of Engineering Science. There he was studying the application of tools and concepts of physics to cooking. Let's observe that this was a technological activity, even if Nicholas was interested in science. When our ad officer learned that I was doing the same kind of activity than Nicholas, she told me about his, and as soon as she gave me his phone number (the same day), I called him (I remember that I had the desk on the left of the redaction, at that time, ground level, near the garden ; I called him at about 6 PM)… and we became instantly friends. Nicholas told me that he would come to Paris the next week to see me… and he did. We met rue Racine, in a restaurant which was called Chez Maitre Paul.
We had a « poule au vin jaune et aux morilles », and we shared a wonderful bottle of vin jaune. I don't remember how our friendship developped, but we immediately collaborated : when one of us was doing an experiment, he called the other, and the other was repeating the experiment. My friend Philippe Boulanger, then the editor in chief of the journal, was annoyed that I spent so much time on the phone with Nicholas, but he did not say much (because I was doing my job anyway).
Also we shared most things. When I was invited to do something, I told Nicholas to be part of it, and Nicholas was doing the same. For example, we shared beging the « godfather » of a class in ENSBANA (now AgroSup Dijon), and he offered me to participate to the notes of a book at BBC Books. Here, I should say more, but later.

1988 : very fast, our discussions led us to analyze our activities. One day, in March, when I proposed him to make an International Society for something (this particular day, I was in my new larger office, first floor), he answered that it was too early, but we agreed that we could make the various people interested to meet. Nicholas had already (apparently, because I did not know it and I have no proof of it) discussed such a meeting with other people, such as Elizabeth Thomas, but it is in my office that we discussed really the idea. A name was needed, and I proposed « molecular gastronomy », because I wanted to make the same as « molecular biology », but Nicholas, physicien told the that he would prefer « molecular and physical gastronomy », and I was respectful of his demand, because I knew that he was a real physicist, and myself more a physical chemist. Later on, I think that I understand the real reason of why Nicholas wanted to add « and physical », and this was because apparently Elizabeth Thomas had proposed « molecular gastronomy » for another meaning, Liz being a cook rather than a scientist.
Whatever the reason, I thought, and I still think that « Molecular Gastronomy » was the right name to choose, because in « molecular biology », there is the fact that chemical and physical methods as well are used. And « molecular » is not restricted to chemistry, but it includes physical chemistry and chemical physics as well. Or « physical gastronomy » could have been a good choice, because physics means « science of nature ».
Anyway, we agreed on the name « molecular and physical gastronomy », and on the idea of making conferences. Nicholas told me that we could do that in Erice (I did not know it), and he called immediately Antonino Zichichi, the director of the Ettore Majorana Center for Sicentific Culture in Erice, Sicile. Zichichi asked us to show him the interest of the thing, and I proposed to invite the Nobel prize winners Jean-Marie Lehn and Pierre Gilles de Gennes, that I knwo thanks to Pour la Science, and also because Pierre-Gilles de Gennes was appointed the director of ESPCI when I was accepted as a student there. Pierre Gilles accepted, so that Zichichi accepted also. It was almost done !
Then, we had everything to invent. We knew that we wanted to make science, but we also wanted to study real culinary processes, and not only what amateurs can do. This is why we decided to invite chefs. Also, we wanted to promote new culinary techniques, based on physics and chemistry. And as we wanted to have friends from all over the world, we asked Harold McGee to be an invited directof of the first workshop. Harold accepted. Most often, all this was done by letter, phone or fax as email did not exist. I have still many documents, but the fax paper faded with time, because it was thermosensitive.
Also, we looked for sponsors, and we got champagne from LVMH.The lecture was a big success, with many new friends. 
Molecular and Physical Gastronomy was on its way... but he had made many mistakes. 
In particular, inviting chefs created a confusion because molecular gastronomy and "molecular cooking" (= cooking with new tools). Even today, I am fighting the confusion, because people often ignore that gastronomy does not mean "haute cuisine", but "knowledge about food". 
Anyway, it's not so serious, because now, with "note by note cooking", people will see a bigger difference between molecular gastronomy and note by note cooking. 
By the way, do you know what note by note cooking is ? 
Please look at that on the Internet, and remember that, if I introduced it, my lab is fully engaged in Molecular Gastronomy, and nothing else, because my real passion is science !

How beautiful is science !

I am writing from Palo Alto, where I have the happiness to be a member of the jury for the Google prize for science and technology (this is my wordings; for them it's Google Science Fair).
My happiness is not to be at the sun, in California... because I am working in the shadow of an office. It's not to be on the Google campus... because I don't care about campuses; nothing is more like a campus than another champus. And, anyway there is much secrecy in Google. My happiness is not to be in a jury, because it takes me time on my research.

No, my happiness is to meet young people crazy about science and technology. So crazy thaht they make wonderful things.
For example, one used online pictures of the night sky and worked in order to distinguish double images of quasars, because of gravitational lenses. Another one produced connected socks, because he wanted his grandfather having Alzheimer disease to wander in the night. Another built a system for cleaning water in poor countries. Another used graphene and titatium dioxide for the same kind of purpose, and so on.
They are between 13 and 18 old, and they do extraordinary things. I am sure that they will become great scientists or technologists... and we have the duty  to help them  to improve even better.
There is a drawback: there will be not a prize for any of them. And we had to choose. When non elected, they will be sad, of course; but on the other hand, there is a possibility  to encourage them.
To be discussed also: the issue of contests. Virtue is its own reward. Is not scientific work thesame? Should we work for a prize, or for a work? We have to  erase this aspect.
Anyway, science is so wonderful!

mercredi 17 septembre 2014

Thee 14 commandments of cooking !

Here there are, in French as well as in English


1. Le sel se dissout dans l'eau
2. Le sel ne se dissout pas dans l'huile
3. L'huile ne se dissout pas dans l'eau
4. L'eau s'évapore à toute température, mais elle bout à la température de 100 degrés.
5. Le plus souvent, les aliments sont faits principalement d'eau (ou d'un autre fluide)
6. Les aliments sans eau ni autre fluide sont durs
7. Certaines protéines (dans les oeufs, la viande, le poisson) coagulent.
8. Le tissu collagénique se dissout dans l'eau quand la température est supérieure à 55 degrés.
9. Les aliments sont des systèmes dispersés
10. Certaines réactions (de Maillard, de Strecker, des oxydations, des caramélisations, des pyrolyses…)
engendrent des composés nouveaux
11. Quand une préparation blanchit, c'est souvent qu'il y a foisonnement ou émulsion
12. La capillarité fait migrer les liquides
13. L'osmose a lieu quand des liquides de concentrations différentes sont séparés par une membrane appropriée
14. Les composés peuvent migrer par diffusion

1. Salt dissolves into water
2. Salt does not dissolve into oil
3. Oil does not dissolve in water
4. Water evaporates at any temperature, but it boils at 100 °C.
5. Most often, fresh products are made primarily from water (or another fluid)
6. Food without water or another fluid are hard.
7. Some proteines (in eggs, meat, fish) coagulate.
8. The collagenic tissue dissolves in water when the temperature is higher than 55  °C.
9. Food are generally disperse systems
10. Some reactions (Maillard, Strecker, oxidations, caramemizations,  pyrolysis…) generate new compounds.
11. When food becomes whiter, during a process, it's often that there is a foaming or emulsification.
12. Capillarity moves liquids
13. Osmosis takes place when liquids having different concentrations are separated by an appropriate  membrane.
14. Compounds can move through diffusion

lundi 1 septembre 2014

"Selling mysefl"

Today, I get an email from a student who asks me to help him to "sell himself" to the industry.
This student was educated in engineering/technology programmes, and proposes to be a "R&D chef".

This needs some discussion.

First, I don't understand the idea of "selling himself". What I propose, instead, is rather to find of group of future friends to which some help will be given. If a company is having too much work, it looks for people who can help, who can contribute, who can take part of the load, who can perform some tasks which have to be performed.
As a consequence, I would personnally propose to help, instead of "selling myself".

But there is more: a engineer being a chefs seems a bad idea. Indeed, when you produce food, at home, in a restaurant or in a company, you have to do technique, art, and sociality ("love"), as explained in my book "Cooking, a quintessential art".
For art, we need artists, so that chefs should not be very good in technique, but top in art.
For technique, we need engineers, and this is where I would advise my young friend to apply.
For sociality... this is a big issue.

dimanche 6 juillet 2014

Note by note cooking !

The book on "note by note cooking" is now ready. See :

http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-16486-3/

mercredi 11 juin 2014

From New York

Dear Friends

From our friends in NYC :


Hello all,
 
  
The Experimental Cuisine Collective's June meeting---our last one of the academic year---will take place on Monday, June 16, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Chemistry Department at NYU, room 1003 (31 Washington Place, between Washington Square Park and Greene Street). You will need a photo ID to enter the building.    
 
ECC co-founder and NYU chemistry professor Kent Kirshenbaum will take us into the world of butter. We will look at:
- What butter is made of
- The physics of butter
- Different kinds of coalesced cream products, such as clotted cream and mascarpone
- The chemistry of butter and of butter flavor
- Chemical modifications of butter and the Maillard reaction
- Brown butter
- Ghee
- Smen, the mysterious fermented butter of North Africa

If time permits, we will also make butter and taste a variety of types of butter. 
 
Please RSVP at ecc062014.eventbrite.comA link is also posted on our website. If you RSVP and can no longer make it, please let me know right away so that your seat can be released---thank you! 

All my best,


Anne 

----
Anne E. McBride
Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective 


ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTAL CUISINE COLLECTIVE
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a working group that assembles scholars, scientists, chefs, writers, journalists, performance artists, and food enthusiasts. We launched in April 2007, as a result of the collaboration of Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy Bentley of the nutrition, food studies, and public health department at New York University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall aim is to develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach that employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and sciences to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.

Visit the ECC online at www.experimentalcuisine.com. 

dimanche 25 mai 2014

Received after my trip to Denmark

Here is the excerpt :

First of all I would like to thank you again for a great event here in our house on 28. April. I was so excited to se what the chefs were able to create with note by note cuisine. I am also very happy that some of the chefs have decided to work more with all the techniques here in our demo kitchen every 8-10 week, just like you told about was happening in Paris.

Should I say something more ? 
Perhaps to remind you that there are Molecular Gastronomy Seminars in : 
Paris
Athens (sometimes) 
Buenos Aires 
Cuba
Beyrouth
New York (under the name Experimental Cuisine Collective)
Nantes
London (sometimes)
Besançon (after September)

And perhaps other places (if I am missing one, please tell me)

mercredi 21 mai 2014

From Cuba

Dear Friends,

from our friends in Cuba :

Preparaciones vanguardistas en la Gastronomía  Moderna

jeudi 8 mai 2014

Next Seminar on Molecular Gastronomy in Paris

Dear Friends
I am happy to tell you that the next seminar on molecular gastronomy, for Paris, will take place on Monday May 19, from 4.00 to 6.00 PM, at 28 bis rue de l'abbé Grégoire, Paris. 
The topic was voted at last seminar, and it will be : 
Do cold egg yolks harden the chocolate+butter mixture, during making chocolate mousse (old, traditional, not "chocolate chantilly"). 
We shall test various kind of chocolates, and also test adding yolks whipped with sugar. 
 
 
Chers Amis
Je suis heureux de vous rappeler que le prochain séminaire de gastronomie moléculaire se tiendra le lundi 19 mai, de 16 à 18 heures, au 28 bis rue de l'abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris.
Le thème a été voté lors du passionnant séminaire d'avril. Ce sera :
les jaunes d'oeufs froids font-ils durcir la masse chocolat+beurre, lors de la préparation d'une mousse au chocolat
On se propose de tester divers types de chocolats, et, aussi, de tester l'ajout des jaunes battus avec du sucre, jusqu'au ruban.

lundi 5 mai 2014

Answering questions of a student

Here is the message :
Well, I'm a little discouraged with physics. In fact, this year I started a
course in patisserie and I was thinking about leaving the field so that one
of my dreams, which is gastronomy, could be followed. On the other hand, it
seems to me that your work is in the interface between physics and
gastronomy, which seems perfect given my situation.

Then, I would like to know i) how your research is, ii) what the Agro
Tech's objectives are and iii) if there is a possibility of some kind of
scholarship to work/study with you.



And here is my answer :

If you are discouraged with physics, then you should not consider molecular gastronomy, because this is physical chemistry.
On the other hand, if you are OK with pastry, then you should "cook".
On one side, equations ; on the other love, art and technique.

By the way, I fear that you are using wrongly the word gastronomy, because it means "knowledge", not haute cuisine.

Is my work at the limit of gastronomy and physics ? No, indeed, because it is inside gastronomy (with the right definition that I gave above).

About my research : see one paper attached
About AgroParisTech : teaching food technology and science, but also agronomy and environment sciences
Scholarship : possible through FIPDes Erasmus Mundus Master programme, or others.
But again, you should first consider your goal. As if you would like to work as an artist, long studies in science and technology are useless. On the contrary, if you want to work for the food industry, food technology is very important. And of course, if you are crazy enough to do science, then scientific studies should be favored.

Cheers

Soon in NYC

Dear friends,
this is in NYC :

Hello all,
 
  
The Experimental Cuisine Collective's May meeting will take place on Monday, May 12, from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. at the Institute of Culinary Education (50 W. 23rd Street and 6th Avenue, 12th floor). Use the elevators in the back of the building to go to the 12th floor, and note the slight time change.
 
We are thrilled to welcome the group of Physics and Physical Chemistry of Foods at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. With a talk titled Science and Gastronomy: from Reflections to Dynamic Multi-scale Approaches, Professor Erik van der Linden, the group's chair, will talk about the past, present, and future of the relation between science and gastronomy and share some of the work that takes place at Wageningen. With The Tipsy Kitchen, Dr. Elke Scholten will talk about alcoholic sorbet, the ouzo effect, and the science behind wine and food pairing. Phd students Anika Oppermann and Auke de Vries will respectively talk about their projects on fat reductions in baking applications and food grade gels. 

For more information about the Wageningen program, please click here.


Please RSVP at ecc052014.eventbrite.com. A link is also posted on our website. If you RSVP and can no longer make it, please let me know right away so that your seat can be released---thank you!   

All my best,


Anne 

----
Anne E. McBride
Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective 

ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTAL CUISINE COLLECTIVE
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a working group that assembles scholars, scientists, chefs, writers, journalists, performance artists, and food enthusiasts. We launched in April 2007, as a result of the collaboration of Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy Bentley of the nutrition, food studies, and public health department at New York University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall aim is to develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach that employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and sciences to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.

Visit the ECC online at www.experimentalcuisine.com. 

mardi 15 avril 2014

Seminars on Molecular Gastronomy

Dear Friends,
I am happy to tell you that every 3rd Monday of the month, there is a Seminar on molecular gastronomy in :
Paris
Nantes
soon Besançon !

Yesterday, we had one on terrine cooking, in Paris, with wonderful results (don't hesitate to ask for the French report).

And soon there is one in NYC :
Hello all,
 
  
As we announced at last month's meeting, the Experimental Cuisine Collective is hitting the road! Our April meeting will take place on Monday, April 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Drexel University in Philadelphia (full address: Academic Bistro, Paul Peck Problem Solving and Research Building, 101 North 33rd St (at Arch), 6th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104)
 
This session of the ECC will focus on the pressing problem of food waste. Using the thinking around the coming of age of experimental cuisine---that traditional and experimental techniques should be understood and learned with the same importance so that the best tool/technique/solution can be used to solve a problem most appropriately---we will explore how both traditional and experimental methods can be employed to mitigate food waste. Based on an EPA food waste recovery pilot project in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, representatives from government, education, and industry will share their approaches. The session begins with an overview of the problem and the approach of the university followed by a culinary demonstration and tasting by chef Shola Olunyolo. Beer, wine and sample bites made from kitchen waste conclude.
 
Presenters:
Tom O'Donnell, EPA
Jonathan Deutsch, Drexel University
Shola Olunloyo, Studio Kitchen 
Drexel Chef-Instructors: Edward Bottone, James Feustel
 
Please RSVP at ecc042014.eventbrite.com. A link is also posted on our website. Since this is in Philadelphia, for this meeting it's also not a problem for you to decide at the last minute and join us without a prior RSVP. 

All my best,


Anne 

----
Anne E. McBride
Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective 

ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTAL CUISINE COLLECTIVE
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a working group that assembles scholars, scientists, chefs, writers, journalists, performance artists, and food enthusiasts. We launched in April 2007, as a result of the collaboration of Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy Bentley of the nutrition, food studies, and public health department at New York University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall aim is to develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach that employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and sciences to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.

Visit the ECC online at www.experimentalcuisine.com. 

mercredi 19 mars 2014

From our friends in NYC

Hello all,
 
  
The Experimental Cuisine Collective's February meeting will take place on Monday, March24, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Chemistry Department at NYU, room 1003 (31 Washington Place, between Washington Square Park and Greene Street). You will need a photo ID to enter the building.    
 
In her presentation, Teaching The Evolution Of Food and Medicine with Bitters, Shoots and Roots Bitters cofounder Rachel Meyer will take us on a journey into the history of the foods we eat and the mechanisms of evolution at work during the domestication of plant species from around the world. Through a series of interactive tastings, you will be treated to a molecular, chemical, and archaeobotanical tour of the geography of food origins and the ways plants have traditionally been exploited before they became the foods we prize today. Some unusual suspects, experienced through bitters, cocktails, and tisanes, include arborvitae, bhut jolokia peppers, cannibal's tomato, Chinese indigo, devil's hand flower, hemp seeds, monkfruit, moringa, sambong, and tartary buckwheat.

Rachel is a plant evolutionary biologist and founder of Shoots and Roots Bitters, which manufactures bitters and educates people about a wide array of the most evolutionarily and ethnobotanically fascinating species found around the world. Many of these species are her or her business partners research subjects. She earned her doctorate through the City University of New York and New York Botanical Garden Plant Science PhD program, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher in New York University in the Purugganan lab, focusing on crop genomics. As part of Shoots and Roots, she teaches workshops on the Evolution of Food, Nature's Pharmacy, The Science of Taste, and Botany for Bartenders. Her team also delivers their bitters and botanical science knowledge through flavor-sensory rich lectures and cocktail hours. She is from Los Angeles, but has lived in Harlem for 8 years, which is where the Shoots and Roots headquarters and kitchen space are.
 
Please RSVP at ecc032014.eventbrite.com. A link is also posted on our website. If you RSVP and can no longer make it, please let me know right away so that your seat can be released---thank you!   

All my best,


Anne 

----
Anne E. McBride
Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective 

ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTAL CUISINE COLLECTIVE
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a working group that assembles scholars, scientists, chefs, writers, journalists, performance artists, and food enthusiasts. We launched in April 2007, as a result of the collaboration of Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy Bentley of the nutrition, food studies, and public health department at New York University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall aim is to develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach that employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and sciences to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.

Visit the ECC online at www.experimentalcuisine.com. 

dimanche 23 février 2014

Tomorrow in Paris

Dear Friends
 
I have the pleasure to remind you that tomorrow, 24th of February 2014, from 4.00 to 6.00 PM, Abbé Grégoire street (Ecole supérieure de cuisine française, Centre Jean Ferrandi of the Paris Chamber of commerce). 
It is an exception, because usually we have our seminar the 3rd Monday of the month, and not the 4th. 
 
The topic for tomorrow's seminar was decided last month, by the participants of the January seminar, and it will be : 
What is the influence of the size of meat peaces when you make a meat stock? 
What is the influence of bones in stocks ? 
 
See you tomorrow if you can+will. 
 
 
 
Chers Amis
Permettez moi de vous rappeler que c'est demain, 24 février 2014, de 16 à 18 heures, au 28 bis rue de l'Abbé Grégoire (Ecole supérieure de cuisine française du Centre Jean Ferrandi de la Chambre de commerce de Paris) que nous aurons notre séminaire du mois de février (exceptionnellement le 4e lundi du mois, au lieu du 3e).
Le thème qui a été retenu par les participants du séminaire de janvier, pour notre séminaire de demain est :
Quelle est l'influence de la taille des morceaux de viande utilisés pour la confection d'un bouillon de boeuf ?
Quelle est l'influence des os ?

Au plaisir de retrouver ceux qui veulent+peuvent.

jeudi 20 février 2014

Again, questions and answers, and again, a confusion between science and cooking !

Today, I received a long questionary from an English student, and I took some time to answer (primarily for the first questions; then I missed time).

Here it is :



  1. How would you explain the term ‘molecular gastronomy ‘to high school students who have no background knowledge of the term?
First molecular gastronomy is a part of sciences of nature. Which means that we are trying to make scientific discoveries, such as oxygen, inertia, quantum mechanics, or Higgs boson.
Of course, in the case of molecular gastronomy, there is no hope to discover the Higgs boson, because we are focusing on an energy scale which is between van der Waals forces and 400 °C (OK, this should be in terms of joules, but it is because I want to explain, as you said “for student”).
What can we discover ? For example, when we study carrot stocks, we are focusing on the particular mechanisms through which plant tissues can exchange with their environment, when cell walls are disrupted.
More generally, in this direction, I am interested on how compounds are exchanged between colloidal systems and their environment. Are there classes of exchanges ? How to compare them ?
Or, in another research line, I am interested in how chemical compounds present in food are changed during culinary processes, in particular in aqueous medium at 100°C for long times (hours). Indeed, this is a big issue, as food thermally treated has its inside at 100 °C maximum, and cooking times can be long. Imagine that organic compounds are transformed into others: this would be organic chemistry in water, from edible compounds, i.e. more or less “green chemistry”.
Finally, you see: in this field, no cooking ! Only physical chemistry, and the more fundamental the better (for me).
Of course there are many other possibilities. As I showed that cooking has technical, art and social component, studies can be done in these three fields.


  1. What are your thoughts of using molecular gastronomy as a teaching tool for high school students?
Indeed it was always my idea that cooking should not be taught as recipes, as recipes make the cook like a machine. I proposed to reintroduce culinary lessons at school, but only in relationship with science, and with knowledge in particular. For example, in France children at school learn how to make liters and liters of whipped egg white from only one egg white. The world record, to my knowledge, is 40 liters.
There are many benefits in having molecular gastronomy (under this name, or not named) in the educational system, at any level, from school up to university. In particular, people can cook. Then they can be happy to learn science and other matters... because they can see how useful it is. Then they can learn the difference between technique, technology, science, art...
Then...


  1. Do you think learning chemistry through contextual learning is more beneficial than just learning by writing facts and theories?
Yes I do think so, and this tested idea is at the foundation of a modification of the curriculum in France, again.
But about teaching, I am very cautious, because the best educational method can be bad when poorly used, whereas the worst method can become wonderful in wonderful hands. Indeed, teaching is technique, art, and social link (a very long story that I cannot develop here).


  1. What are the benefits of understanding the basics of chemistry?
All your life includes chemistry, or more precisely the result of chemistry : cosmetics, drugs, food, painting, varnishes... If some people fear pesticides, this is because they don't understand what compounds are. And they don't understand that grilling meat is making more more dangerous compounds than pesticides! You cannot vote for laws if you don't understand chemistry, at the XXIrst century. But again, this could make a whole chapter!
  1. Is molecular gastronomy completely safe for your health? How would you explain this to people who don’t have background knowledge in molecular gastronomy and simply overlook it as unhealthy/unsafe?
Here I see that you confuse molecular gastronomy and molecular cooking. Please see the text about that. Science is safe for your health, because it is knowledge, not food !
About molecular cooking (not molecular gastronomy), if people fear it, it's because they don't know the definition of molecular cooking : cooking with new tools.
But now there is a new chapter in the history: note by note cooking. And them people will perhaps fear it. Please look at the text about note by note cooking, in order to see :
-why people will fear it
- why I don't care about people fearing it (they will need it!).


  1. Are molecular gastronomy foods something that young children could consume?
“Molecular gastronomy food “ cannot exist ! Remember that molecular gastronomy is science, not food !
If you discuss molecular cooking dishes, then it depends on what it contains. Please never fall in generalities. For example, do you know that children should not eat “saucisson”, because of nitrites ?
And this is traditional food. Not molecular cooking.
By the way, why don't you ask also “are traditional food something that young children could consume?” ;-)
  1. Can pure compounds be produced and eaten in molecular gastronomy recipes?
Again, no molecular gastronomy recipes. You probably think of note by note cooking. The book in English about this will be published in NYC in October.


  1. What are some prime examples of molecular gastronomy recipes that utilise the changing of states of matter?
The same as for traditional food. When you make a gel, there is a transformation. When fat melts, there is a liquefaction, etc. Just look at a culinary book.
  1. What are some examples of catalysts in molecular gastronomy? How do they work?
Again, the confusion. But if you consider molecular cooking, it is the same as for traditional cooking. But for note by note cooking, there will be possibilities of many advances in this regard.


  1. Could endothermic and exothermic reactions be explained to young children through molecular gastronomy? What are some examples of these reactions within food?
Of course, but there, I would need more time than I have now.


  1. Can we use molecular gastronomy to explain the different tastes of foods e.g. acids/bases? What are some foods that can be explained through their PH levels?
Yes. There are many. Please see my podcasted courses on AgroParisTech, and my various books. Sorrry, most of it is in French.


  1. What are some very simple reactions that can be explained to high school students through food? For example reactions that a student would be able to write out the formula and identify the product and reactant.
I feel that I can explain any reaction to anybody. The question is how deep?
  1. Is Stoichiometry important in molecular gastronomy? What are some examples of stoichiometry in molecular gastronomy?


  1. How could the chemical calculation of concentration be taught through Molecular Gastronomy?
If you look to the “Cours en ligne” of AgroParisTech, in the part “physical chemistry for formulation” or in the FIPDes part, you will see many courses in English, at the university level. The same content could be taucht in high schools.


  1. What are some examples of precipitation reactions within foods/molecular cuisine?
Same as before


  1. What types of reactions are most common in molecular gastronomy? What are some examples of these?
Same as before


  1. Are gels classified as a solid or liquid why? How would you explain this to young students?
About gels, look to my AgroParisTech course en ligne, as said above.


  1. What are some examples where acids and bases are manipulated in molecular gastronomy?
  2. What are some simple kitchen myths that have been proven wrong? What method was used to prove these myths as false?
Please see my article “Comparative molecular gastromy” in the Japanese Journal of Cookery science.


  1. How does different PH levels effect food?
Same as before


  1. Can hydrated compounds be explained through the dehydration of food?
Sorry but I don't understand the question


  1. Can the molecular formula be determined for food? e.g. what is the molecular formula of a strawberry? How is it found?
I don't understand the question. Do you mean DSF ? If so, did you the courses about that, and the articles ?


  1. What is chemically happening in the process of spherfication?
See articles on that.


  1. When maltodextin is added to fat, what is chemically happening?
Everywhere on the net.


  1. What properties of soy lectin, xanthan Gum and sodium citrate that make them emulsifiers?
Again, see my courses.


  1. How does Agar Agar gell work/ why does it have the properties it has?
Everywhere on the net


  1. How does sodium Alginate gell work/ why does it have the properties it has?
Everywhere on the net


  1. What are the most interesting chemicals have you worked with/ studied through molecular gastronomy? What is it that you found interesting?
Water ! If protons are labile (as seen with NMR, it means that the “are not” in the molecule, so that the H2O molecule does not exist, as a fixed unit. This is one very interesting and simple case, let's say prototype, for many other ideas in physical chemistry.

mercredi 12 février 2014

This is from NYC

Dear Friends
I am happy to forward you this :

Experimental Cuisine Collective
Experimental Cuisine Collective
  February 2014 meeting
Upcoming ECC Events
Visit our website to see dates and speakers as we schedule them for 2014 and add them to your calendar. 
 




Quick Links...
Hello all,
 
  
The Experimental Cuisine Collective's February meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Chemistry Department at NYU, room 1003 (31 Washington Place, between Washington Square Park and Greene Street). You will need a photo ID to enter the building.    
 
In her talk, Food Design: Affecting the Route from Hand to Mouth, Emilie Baltz---photographer, designer, author, and artist extraordinaire---will talk about the role of design in food "beyond the plate": from product, sensory and experiential examples in her own body of work.  

Please RSVP at ecc022014.eventbrite.com. A link is also posted on our website.
If you RSVP and can no longer make it, please let me know right away so that your seat can be released---thank you!   

All my best,


Anne 

----
Anne E. McBride
Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective 

ABOUT THE EXPERIMENTAL CUISINE COLLECTIVE
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a working group that assembles scholars, scientists, chefs, writers, journalists, performance artists, and food enthusiasts. We launched in April 2007, as a result of the collaboration of Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy Bentley of the nutrition, food studies, and public health department at New York University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall aim is to develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach that employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and sciences to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.

Visit the ECC online at www.experimentalcuisine.com. 
This email was sent to herve.this@paris.inra.fr by aemcbride@gmail.com |  
Experimental Cuisine Collective | New York University | 411 Lafayette Street | 5th Floor | New York | NY | 10003