Molecular cuisine: history and secrets of cooking
The term “molecular cuisine” appeared not very long ago, and in some people on the planet, it causes confusion. Of course, many of us have heard that the dishes of this cuisine are fundamentally different from those to which we are accustomed, but what exactly are the differences? Let’s figure it out!
First of all, the dishes from the molecular cuisine are capable of striking. This is manifested in both visual and taste perception. Andria Ferran, a popular cook from Catalonia, said very well about the dishes cooked in an unusual way:
“Molecular cuisine is the desire to feed the public with something very extraordinary and perhaps meaningless, and also to force conservatives to look at the kitchen from a slightly different angle.”
The history of molecular cuisine
Like everything else in our life, this kind of cuisine appeared when it became clear that the public was waiting for something new and unusual. The parent of molecular cuisine is a British physicist named Nicholas Kurti. In the 1970s, the scientist conducted a series of seminars at which issues of cooking and their connection with chemical and physical processes were raised. Kurti’s lectures made an indelible impression on some cooks, and they began to experiment with cooking.
Thanks to various non-standard methods of processing products, real masterpieces began to appear. The world first tried dishes cooked with liquid nitrogen, various thickeners and enzymes that glue together muscular tissue. The reality surpassed all expectations and it is not surprising, because when people are served an orange paste, sweets made from liver and coffee with garlic, people are genuinely surprised.
In the molecular kitchen there are 4 commandments that are considered unchanged for many dishes. So, here they are:
1. Long cooking time.
It is no secret that creating masterpieces of molecular cuisine is a very long process. The minimum preparation time for the most simple dishes takes 2 hours, and if we talk about culinary masterpieces, then several days. For example, tea, in which the main ingredients are beef and truffles, is served at a table 40 hours after the start of the preparation.
All molecular cuisine recipes are very accurate. Cooks in this direction say that changing the weight of the ingredients by at least 1 gram can radically change its taste, or even spoil it. That is why accurate scales are essential in molecular kitchen.
3. Minor portions.
In restaurants that serve molecular cuisine, there are special dinners at which the restaurant guests are invited to try a number of dishes. As a rule, it is 15-20 different foods that are designed to feed the guest visually and morally, but not physically. The portions are small, but the design is beyond praise: real masterpieces.
4. High cost.
What can I say, but far from everyone can afford molecular cuisine because of its high prices. The crazy prices for dishes are caused not only by the duration of their preparation, but also by very expensive equipment, as well as the knowledge and skills that far from all chefs have.
Today in the molecular kitchen there are 5 basic ways of cooking. Each of them is interesting in its own way and here is their brief description.
In the molecular kitchen, a dish that looks like froth is called espuma. It is believed that this is the calling card of this kitchen. Espumu is obtained from anything, even fish and meat. In other words, the foam is a kind of sauce that has an airy consistency. Connoisseurs of molecular cuisine claim that the most valuable thing in espume is its weightlessness.
2. Gelation and spherification
These methods are known to many, because each of us came across red and black caviar, which has nothing to do with fish. Similar products are obtained by adding various thickeners. As for the molecular cuisine, such dishes can be prepared from anything. Before the visitor can put a tartlet with red caviar, which will have a chocolate flavor.
This method is used when a solid dish needs to be turned into a liquid. To do this without the help of special equipment is impossible. Thanks to emulsification, chefs specializing in molecular cuisine can offer the guest a sauce made from Olivier or Herring under a fur coat.
4. Vacuum treatment
This technology lies in the fact that the product is placed in a vacuum bag and prepared in a water bath for more than one hour. In this way, not only vegetables can be cooked, but also different varieties of fish and meat. Those who have tried such dishes say that they acquire an interesting delicate taste.
Transglutaminases are enzymes that are able to glue together muscular tissue. In the molecular kitchen, this ingredient is used to add unusual shapes to meat and fish dishes.