Is the future of food in the chemical makeup of dishes?
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Your future pantry may sport glucose, tartaric acid, piperine and other compounds instead of spice racks.
French scientist Hervé This, known for his pioneering technique called note-by-note cuisine, believes the future of food lies in cooking with chemical compounds. More than style and convenience, this method has the potential to increase and improve global food security.
Note-by-note cuisine is a style of cooking that employs chemical constituents of traditional ingredients like meat and vegetables instead of the foods themselves. It is chemistry that has been applied to the art of cooking.
This and his team deconstruct ingredients of various foods into individual chemical constituents like amino acids and lipids. They first identify the fundamental chemical makeup of each dish and then reconstruct their essence by mixing the raw compounds.
As the co-creator of molecular gastronomy, This believes that this futuristic cooking process can feed more people. He wants the world to adopt this method of cooking with chemical compounds, which will help save energy and prevent food spoilage.
In a world racked by food shortages and an increasingly vulnerable planet, this could be the real game-changer we are all waiting for. It has the potential to help farmers stay profitable, feed more people and save energy by reducing the use of refrigeration.
Molecular gastronomy is a big trend in the food business today. Chefs use various ingredients and follow specific scientific processes to transform traditional ingredients.
For many, This’ method sounds the same. While note-by-note does include classic molecular cooking techniques, it relies only on chemicals.
If you are still wondering about how this is all possible, break down the ingredients from the labels to get an idea. For example, garlic is benzyl mercaptan, and we all know that salt is sodium chloride.
Steak is a combination of protein and water with powders and colorants. The final steak dish has these ingredients and added foams, gels and oils, with more bulk from coagulation that occurs during cooking.
This wants to take this powerful science a step forward. He wants to invent new edible items instead of recreating existing dishes.
Since most ingredients possess a variety of compounds, the potential of chemical combinations to invent new dishes is infinite.
This’ aspirations have come at an interesting time, when the word "chemical" in the context of food has more negative connotations. We are warned about nasty "chemicals" lurking in our homes and kitchens. We are so scared that we often forget that even salt and water are chemical compounds.
Some of the warnings make sense. There are toxic and harmful chemicals that are detrimental to our health. But that should not negate the reality that all foods are made up of chemicals.
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