THE SCI­ENCE OF COOK­ING

THE LAB HAS EN­TERED THE KITCHEN IN RESTAU­RANTS ALL OVER THE GLOBE

Food and Travel (UK) - - 200 th Issue -

Sous-vide In this French tech­nique, food is vac­uum-sealed in a plas­tic pouch and placed in a wa­ter bath for up to 48 hours at a low tem­per­a­ture, en­sur­ing it’s evenly cooked and retains mois­ture. It’s then seared in a pan to cre­ate a char and add flavour.

Molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy The term was coined by physi­cist Ni­cholas Kurti and chemist Hervé This in 1988, but grew in the 1990s. It refers to us­ing sci­en­tific tech­niques to trans­form food. From ice spheres to the fa­mous liq­uid olives at El Bulli, the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less.

Freeze-dry­ing Prod­ucts can be stored for up to 30 years and still hold 97 per cent of their nu­tri­tional value. They are rapidly frozen, placed in a vac­uum cham­ber to evap­o­rate the wa­ter and sealed with ni­tro­gen to pre­serve their taste, tex­ture and colour.

Liq­uid ni­tro­gen In its liq­uid form, this nat­u­ral gas has a boil­ing point of -196C. It flash-freezes food as soon as it touches it, and at room tem­per­a­ture be­comes a gas again, cre­at­ing the theatre that helped bring He­ston Blu­men­thal (above) to fame.

Cen­trifuge These sci­en­tific de­vices whirl ex­tremely quickly, gen­er­at­ing forces 30,000 times as strong as grav­ity. Chefs use them to sep­a­rate sauces: ex­tract­ing the oil from a purée takes days un­der nat­u­ral grav­ity, but fin­ishes in min­utes with these.

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