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Celebrity Grub Restaurants

Jose Andres Thinks The Term ‘Molecular Gastronomy’ Is Useless

Today, the term “molecular gastronomy” carries with it a sort of culinary mystique. It refers to the blend of science and food in a fine dining restaurant setting, where folks like Jose Andres and Grant Achatz create mesmerizing concoctions never seen before.

With that magical feel and fine dining appeal has come an air of pretentiousness that’s surrounded the term, and it’s something that Andres has not become a fan of. In fact, he feels that “molecular gastronomy” doesn’t really have any meaning to begin with.

Jose AndresPhoto: USDA on Flickr // CC 4.0

Andres gave his take on what “molecular gastronomy” really meant when he sat down on a recent episode of NPR’s Fresh Air podcast.

“Listen to me, people of America,” he said, “EVERYTHING is molecular. When you drink wine… when you drink beer… when you eat cheese… when your food gets rotten… your pickles, that’s molecular. Everything is molecular, what has happened is that before, we were clueless. We didn’t know why things happened.”

“Now we have knowledge, which makes you powerful,” Andres added. “That’s what gives you the power to do better food, more tasty food, and that’s the way forward. More knowledge in the hands of chefs, and people will be helping us to feed the world better.”

The term “molecular gastronomy” is useless to Andres because its most accurate definition, and the one he abides by, is literally cooking or eating molecules. AKA, what we do to food every single day.

For Andres, his work, or what most people call “molecular gastronomy,” is the next step in the evolution of cooking techniques. Every time he or someone else develops a new way to prepare food, it will eventually spread and become more common especially in today’s day and age. I mean, look at where sous vide is now versus the niche status of it not even a decade ago. There’s also the Instant Pot, which effectively commercialized the once chef-exclusive technique of pressure cooking. Don’t forget about liquid nitrogen, which has become the freezing material of choice for ice cream and is the basis of the now-popular “dragon’s breath” challenge.

It is the rise of these technologies and scientific advances in food that’s helped humanity accelerate. Think about where we would be today if canning didn’t exist. How space travel would have proved useless without the freeze-dried foods astronauts needed for nourishment. Or even how to create a stable mayonnaise that won’t split on you within a couple of hours.

Andres understands the work that he, Achatz, and other so-called “molecular gastronomists” do, could have huge impacts on the future of food. As pretentious as the name may be, we’ll eventually be using at least some of their techniques in our everyday food as well.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Well-Known Chicago Chef Found Dead In The Brewery He Planned To Open

HomaroCantuFB

Homaro Cantu, the creative mind behind the Chicago-based restaurant Moto was found dead, Tuesday. Cantu’s death appeared to be the result of a hanging, reports the Chicago Tribune. The authorities are currently investating the death as a suicide.

The body of the 38-year-old chef was discovered in a building on West Montrose Avenue. He was in the middle of renovating the space and turning into a brewery, reports say.

The chef was known for his elaborate menu presentations involving molecular gastronomy. This included tabletop-cooked fish in a box, carbonated fruit and even edible menus.

Cantu’s approach to his food stemmed from his family growing up in poverty. His innovative dishes were a combination of both food and science.

Earlier last month, Cantu was in the middle of a lawsuit between a former investor of Moto. The investor, Alexander Espalin, claimed that the chef had used Moto’s bank account for personal use. These allegedly included business trips, legal fees, meals and other forms of personal spending.

Cantu’s death is currently under police investigation. His autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Photo: Facebook

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Products

Molecular Gastronomy Kit is the Easy Bake Oven for Adults

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So, apparently, at least in the world of avante-garde cuisine, “spherification” is a word, and it means exactly what it sounds like. If you’re a fan of Top Chef, or even just Iron Chef America, you’ve probably seen someone pull out a steaming tank of liquid nitrogen and instantly up the hipness level of their otherwise run-of-the-mill appetizer. These molecular gastronomy kits from Spanish chef-brothers, Albert and Ferran Adrià, seek to put that power in your kitchen.

They’re called Easy Kits, and there are four of them: Spherifiication, Cuisine, Patisserie, and Cocktail. Each comes with ingredients specific to respective recipes and techniques. For instance, “Gelly” is a 200 bloom gelatine texture in the Spherification kit that lets you to make your own globular mousse. Then there’s Lecite in the Cuisine box, so you can make flavored air.

You’ll be enjoying marble-shaped vinegar in no time.

Easy Kits €70.15 ($90 US) @solegraells 

H/T + PicThx Eater

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Hit-Or-Miss

So S’mores Spaghetti is a Real Thing

He’s already brought us Peep S’mores and S’moreos and even a S’more Quesadilla, and now Nick from DudeFoods is back with his latest choco-mallow-graham-cracker-y concoction: S’mores Spaghetti, molecular gastronomy-style.

Featuring chocolate and marshmallow “noodles” and a graham cracker crumble, S’more-ghetti is admittedly not the easiest thing to make, and chances are the process doesn’t properly capture the all the dimensions of the perfectly toasted ‘mallow (considering gelatin is virtually un-flammable), but it definitely looks worth a try.

And hey, any budding science teachers looking for a fun experiment to try with their students this year might consider giving this a shot. Same goes for anyone who’s always dreamt of eating spaghetti for both dinner and dessert (i.e., everyone).

You’re welcome world?

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Products

Molecular Cuisine Starter Kit

If you’re interested in taking your cooking from boiling, straining, chopping and roasting to a new level of spherification, gelification and emulsification, the Molecular Cuisine Starter Kit is right up your alley. A 50-recipe DVD is included in the kit, a long with all the tools and additives you’ll need to get started. A quick trailer after the jump shows off some more features of the kit: