Returning home from the wet cold day outside I needed something hot to eat. As I set my chicken soup that I was going to re-heat on the stove top, I noticed it had congealed.Sign of a good clear stock, the chicken and herbs were suspended in the cold broth and it made me wonder about what I could add to it to make it gel more and cut it into cubes for a salad? (like a jambon persille?)
It was in part due to my having attended a class on hydrocolloids this morning.The instructor Alex Talbot and his wife Aki Kamozawa who’s Ideas in food website is where I had first seen some interesting food pics on the subject and information on some of their food concepts.
This mysterious molecular gastronomy, currently the rage with all the it’s strange food glue sort of ingredients. Though the jury is still out on what I really feel regarding this new school or "nouvelle cuisine", it was time for some education. So I contacted the Chef who was instructing the demo, at first I wanted to ask for an interview. My interest was piqued around Thanksgiving after seeing his turkey saucisson that was "glued" with some ingredient and vacuum-packed, so I signed on.
"Drink the water", Alex told us, I quipped, "is this part of the demo, right?" Of course it was, he said in a serious tone!
Hydro=water is the medium and colloids=are what sets the water to a gel through dispersion! (A better definition), here!
Although I would dearly love to try some of these methods, I would find it hard to try to explain this to the caliber of the cooks I work with. Some how they wouldn’t be able to grasp what I was getting at, they still are figuring out basic plating and how to make a vinaigrette!
There are some ideas that really clicked for me though, in terms of cold plated dishes and even desserts. Still there is a bit of trepidation for me when it comes to additives that come from Multinational companies, or just the idea of processing food to an unrecognizable state, or for that matter taking away it’s natural state; admittedly I know we already are changing chemically the structure of food when we add any thing, including spices, or we change it’s overall composition by cooking period!
Alex was stressing as Chef’s or cooks to choose the best products,(meaning the carrageenan or agar-agar)as if you would when purchasing your meat or vegetables.The flavor and textural palate can be adjusted to your taste, more glue or less! So I got a bit of what all this new food is about, having only seen Ferran Adria on an episode of Mark Bittmans show as well as reading some things about Wylie Dufresne. Some how I feel this will be a part of the cooking worlds next step or it is just a flash in the pan, so to speak? If that isn’t stirring the pot!
My friend Eric Girerd a sixth generation chocolatier who we first interviewed on Stir The Pots in 2007, he's been...