Science Chefs: Ian’s Take


I sit here with my lunch, a simple chicken thigh with herbs and lemon, reading Micheal Ruhlman’s post on Joan Roca, who demonstrated his technique for eau de terroir (essence of dirt) at the World Table conference in Spain. I am left wondering if the science-food trend hasn’t gone too far. Molecular gastronomy, whimsically interesting though it may be, does not equal molecular satisfaction. Food trends come and go (remember Dr. Atkins?), leaving us the best they had to offer. The rest of their quirks and extremes fade into history. I, for one, am enjoying the science fare, tasting my way through laboratory dinner tables, thinking, "Isn’t that clever…" or "How the…?" But the food is often overthought, always overtouched, and rarely satisfying. I’m left craving a burger. There was an odd sensation in my stomach when I left Manhattan’s wd~50 recently. A reaction to overmanipulated food, perhaps, which vanished after ingesting two slices of pizza. I was hungry. We can learn a great deal from the science-chef professors. Like, how to utilize technique in creating plates that are intellectually stimulating AND deliciously fulfilling.

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