Hervé This (pronounced “Teess”) is an internationally renowned chemist, to hold a doctorate in molecular gastronomy, a cutting-edge field he pioneered. Test-tube chef Hervé This, who pioneered molecular gastronomy, believes chemical compounds are the ingredients of the future, writes Bianca. Molecular Gastronomy has ratings and 61 reviews. Petra Eggs said: I’m really enjoying this. Some of it is going over my head but I’m starting to get.

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Explaining that a pleasant sirloin is 40 per cent water and 60 per cent protein, the French chemistry professor dumped four tablespoons of water into six tablespoons of powdered egg. As it happens, he was wrong: In went a pinch of allyl isothiocyanate, for a mustardy kick.

Father of molecular gastronomy, Hervé This, claims to have solved world hunger

He used a microwave propped on a table as a lectern, and moved aside his other ingredients – the dehydrated egg, along with vegetable oil, salt and sugar – to rummage through a case of clear glass vials stoppered with black lids. He unscrewed a small bottle of methional oil, which has a cheesy-potato flavour, gastrobomy the room’s fresh-carpet smell gave way to baked potato mixed with high-school gym.

At a time when much of the culinary world believes in farming like pioneer settlers and looking its meat in the eyes, This wants us to abandon peas and carrots “Middle Ages! He showed his audience a picture of wooden shelves stocked with rows of identical white containers and a scale.

A celebrity academic who advises Michelin-star chefs and government officials, This is a kitchen revolutionary who seems to dash off cooking manifestos at the rate at which other people tweet and who issues the unqualified declarations of a prophet. He is regarded as the founding molecupar of molecular gastronomy, having spent his career pushing science into the tihs – first gastronomj explain traditional cooking, then to dismantle it.

He has sent sliced onions through an MRI machine and invented an equation for aioli. He has mummified eggs, unboiled eggs, cooked eggs without heat and turned hard-boiled eggs uerve. Now This has staked his reputation on a new way of feeding ourselves that he calls “note-by-note cooking”. It involves designing food from pure chemical compounds and is, he argues, an “obvious” approach that will gasfronomy stave off the energy crisis, eliminate food waste and end world hunger.

Far from protein shakes concocted with chemistry-class staples, the meals This envisions will be made with the same care as mille-feuille or coq au vin, but they will be composed of, say, citric acid, ethanol and glycerol.

Note-by-note recipes call on kitchen essentials such as water, oil and sodium chloride aka salt and use classic techniques like frying, broiling and baking along with molecular-gastronomy methods such as dehydration and spherification. Many of the finished dishes resemble creations from El Bulli, the now-closed Catalonian restaurant that put modernist cuisine on the world map, with powders and foams arranged beside brightly coloured rectangles of food that could be crunchy or creamy, depending on how they are prepared.


Bulk might come from powdered wheat starch instead of pasta; a sauce could be thickened with iota carrageenan, a seaweed extract, in place of heavy cream; liquids are chiefly water and cooking oil; and plates may be dolled up by running combs over whisked piles of pea-protein dough. In time, This says, “the comb will be the ultimate culinary tool”. This had travelled to New York to promote his book Note-by-Note Cookingand was also pitching the annual note-by-note cooking contest, held in Paris, France.

In molecklar NYU classroom, This had people sufficiently rattled that they began interrupting him. The head moleular a company that makes cricket-flour protein bars raised his hand. He was concerned, he began, that no one knows enough about macro and micronutrients to use the note-by-note method to recreate …. The white sludge of egg protein he was mixing was not really a steak, he explained with practised patience.

He does not want to simulate steak – or chicken, or salmon, or pears. He wants to invent new foods that offer new flavours. Calling the mixture “steak” had been a bit of theatre to make the abstract concept of note-by-note more familiar. To eliminate confusion, however, he would give the dish a different name: Dirac, in honour of British theoretical physicist Paul Dirac This likes naming dishes and sauces after scientists.

I can make anything! It’s the same as electronic music. This, who moleecular 60, has diaphanous white hair and the long, soft shape of an eclair. He delivers blunt judgments. And this is sad for you. These molevular powders last forever, This said: Shipping the pure compounds takes less money and fuel than transporting the sacks of sugar, protein, ash and water we call tomatoes. Or, he added, homeowners could just save their grass clippings when they mow their lawns.

This is already feeding himself note by note. On agstronomy days when he can’t leave his lab for lunch, he’ll dip into a large sack of powdered plant protein to whip up some of the Dirac that people passed around the lecture hall. His favourite faux wine sauce is a mixture of dissolved grape phenolics, tartaric acid and water.

Hervé This

The Dirac eventually herev my seat. The mass of lumpy white proteins clung to a fork with the consistency of scrambled eggs mixed with glue. Before I could chew it, the Dirac melted on my tastronomy, releasing potato and mushroom flavours and a vague aftertaste of Roquefort cheese, but nothing close to sirloin. It felt in the mouth like a sticky Cheez Doodle robbed of its flavouring powder. Considering how snack foods are assembled, Dirac is in many ways the second cousin of the Doodle.

The Coca-Cola, Twinkies and Starbursts being sold at the deli across from NYU’s campus are early iterations of note-by-note, assembled, as so many packaged foods are, from chemical compounds that could have come from This’ food pantry of the future.

They fall short of what This calls “pure note-by-note” – foods made only of compounds that have been fractionated as far as possible – vastronomy he acknowledges a likeness.

Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Hervé This

The Dirac on my plate was a far cry from the note-by-note meals This envisions, which, he says, should tantalise the tongue. The winners of last year’s note-by-note contest, a year-old Belgian berve student named Frederic Clarembeau and his partner, Elodie Ricquebourg, came closer to this vision with the gastronoky they created, Palette de saveurs aux notes d’Asie.


Their creation looks from the photograph posted online as though it could have a place on any Manhattan gasfronomy menu: When I spoke with Clarembeau, he explained that the “soup” was freeze-dried coconut extract and gellan gum a bacteria by-product presented in two contrasting consistencies: He had prepared a red garnish by squeezing a jelled soy-sauce mixture from a syringe onto an ice cube, and the “chicken” was really wheat starch, gluten, milk protein, glutamate and centrifuged carrot fibres pulverised in a coffee grinder and then pan-fried.

A caramelised sauce flavoured with limonene and geraniol – aromatic chemicals used more often in cosmetics than in cooking – heve off the creation. Clarembeau and Ricquebourg’s recipe was judged on feasibility, originality and flavour complexity, though Clarembeau admitted that their dish “wasn’t mind-blowing, but it tasted good”. Some in the NYU crowd worried that note-by-note would gut the emotional and cultural role of food.

A valid concern, and yet it seemed that the audience had overlooked the cooking that is integral to This’ plan. Even if his plan to save the world falls short, note-by-note could – and aims to – give rise to a new kind of culinary experience; one that moves past the constraints of nature’s grocery store.

DJs fill clubs by playing synthetic beats that sound nothing like any music made with traditional instruments, so why can’t chefs break loose, too? I can’t wait to have a note-by-note dinner,'” Anne McBride, the adjunct faculty member who’d gastrpnomy This to speak, said later. When people call note-by-note disgusting or a threat to the future of food, This hears only the same objections he received in the s, when he preached the gospel of now-standard restaurant techniques and ingredients such as sous-vide cooking and hydrocolloids.

Mooecular with molecular gastronomy, This has started by implanting note-by-note in haute kitchens, hoping the 99 per cent will follow. Already, Pierre Gagnaire, a three-Michelin-star chef and This’ long-time collaborator, has served note-by-note-style dishes in his restaurants.

One Gagnaire dessert, the Chick Corea, uses ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium lactate, centrifuged apple and other ingredients to create lemon-flavoured liquid-filled pearls and cubes of fruit fibre that are served under a brittle green menthol crust. Culinary school Le Cordon Bleu has hosted dinners to teach This’ principles to its up-and-coming gastronomes. It’s the meat-and-potatoes folks he’s after. Or, as he hopes they will be called, the Dirac people.

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