Thursday 16 August 2007


Molecular Gastronomy.... it's been around for a while, but luckily, Australia has survived the rarefied wanker-osisty that is this phenomenon, mostly intact.

Sometimes called "the science of deliciousness" **ahem** , it is also an excuse for the uneducated and the pretentious, the trendy and the faddie, to wax lyrical and drop words like "Alinea" and "el bulli" and "anti-griddle"

The sooner it's gone and we can all move on to the Next Big Thing, the happier I'll be. Even Blumenthal says MG is dead... and not about time, too.

If you've missed this god-awful phenomena, here's a sample:

Spherification. Also known as ravioli (not the kind you eat with marinara sauce), spheres are what you get when you mix liquid food with sodium alginate, then dunk it in a bath of calcium chloride. A sphere looks and feels like caviar, with a thin membrane that pops in your mouth, expunging a liquid center. Popular experiments from the chefs above have included ravioli made from purées of things like mangoes and peas.

or what about this little offering:

Bacon on the line. Alinea’s multicourse tasting menu often includes a crispy piece of bacon decorated with butterscotch and dehydrated apple, served threaded on a horizontal wire. The famous dish exemplifies Alinea’s use of creative serveware, and molecular gastronomy’s enthusiasm for dehydrators and savory-sweet combinations in general.

and this, from Sydney Morning Herald (thankfully back in 03)

Adria will serve you the most perfect-looking vanilla ice-cream. You take a bite: the first impression is of delicious creaminess and your taste buds prepare themselves for the sweetness to follow. Suddenly they are caught off-guard by the tang of Parmesan. Your brain is telling you that you shouldn't like what you are eating but your taste buds insist it's divine.

These days he is concentrating on his latest inventions, such as "air" of carrot or pine nut. Take a spoonful of carrot air and your mouth is at once filled with the most intense carrot flavour imaginable and at the same time utterly empty, the froth having vanished on impact. It's an eerie sensation.

The experimental highlight for 2003, however, must be "apple caviar", which has the appearance and texture of caviar but is much lighter in colour. It is made from apple juice together with a mysterious "product A" and "product B", and is the subject of much speculation among other chefs. What does it taste of? Just apple juice really but captured in jelly-like "bubbles" which burst in the mouth exactly like caviar.

Here is a list of ingredients used regularly in MG.. All readily available here in Melbourne..

Agar Agar Powder Calcium Chloride Granules Carrageenan Iota & Kappa Powder
Citric Acid Granules Egg White Powder French White Kaolin Clay
Guar Gum Powder Lactose Monohydrate Powder Maltodextrin Powder
Methyl Cellulose Powder Sodium Alginate Powder Sodium Citrate Powder
Xantham Gum Power Lecthin Granules - GMO Free (pcr -ve)

Noice, hey?? Sounds more like Year 10 Science with Jackie and Mrs Mabbett, than food prep.

Here in Melbourne, Raymond Capaldi, darling of the MG movement is still touting chicken liver parfait, cocoa, salted lactose caramel, hazelnut biscotti and beetroot salad, at Fenix, but it's a far cry from his previous offerings of

scallops: fat, barely seared adductor muscles without roe, studded with faintly sweet, small chewy pieces of liquorice. They are laid out in a line with discs of excellent black pudding and plops of traditional pureed potato, drizzled with an emulsified dressing of "cooked grapefruit".


A dessert of intense beetroot and blackcurrant jelly, capped with a candied-dried beetroot disc and a quenelle of parsnip and coffee icecream sprinkled with sea salt; a berry and beetroot soup is added to the dessert bowl on serving at the table.

Here are some other random samplings from MG restaurants across the globe.

cockles coated with white chocolate

Or garlic and coffee creme brulée

Or dark chocolate petit fours infused with pipe tobacco

or Warm chocolate fondant with peanut ice-cream and artichoke caramel

or Sardine on toast sorbet

or Fig and black olive tartin with brie ice-cream

WHEN, oh when is the food movement going to give up on this ridiculous fad and embrace the real, wholesome, richness of REAL FOOD FOR REAL PEOPLE!!!!

Oh, BTW.. Furry and I are having a deconstructed Pal/Alpo creme brulee with a soupcon of aloo ghobi sorbet, strung on a bit of barbed wire, dusted with jock-rash powder and a dirty ashtray foam for dinner tonight.

Wanna come over??


Anonymous said...

What an absolute wankfest!

Firstly, what's with the bacon on a skewer?

Is that what was left behind on the fence when the pig did a runner 'cause he saw the farmer coming at him with an axe?

Or is it some sort of pig pinyarda that you hit with your fork until more pig falls out its bum?

Then, what's with the fish snot & toe jam flavoured ice cream. Come at me with that crap & I'll be telling you to do what a duck can't......

Stick your bill up your arse!

I foolishly thought food was a medium where friends gather, laugh, share, smile, chat, catch up, eat & relax over a few drinks.

I don't see the need to for people to use this medium to make themselves feel important, sound knowledgeable, or over compensate for tiny frail egos or to hide the fact the have small genitals.

That's what I thought wine, Porsches & BMW's were for.

Food, you know, dosen't need to be complex, dosen't need to be fake with flavours, dosen't need to be full of wank. KISS (keep it simple stupid) is some of the best type of food out there.

And don't even start me on the tossers who carry on about Barra, Croc, Joe Blake, Ms Piggy, Buff, Anna, Roo & Mu (all Aussie slang for Barramundi, Crocodile, Snake, Wild Pig, Buffalo, Goanna, Kangeroo & Emu) & how much they spent, and how it was prepared with lint of camels toe & Yaks Snot.

I spent the better part of 4 years living on this stuff, cooked traditionally, WITH the berries & nuts the area provided.

To me, people who talk about the complex flavours, atmosphere, elegance, etc, etc are food critics, and wankers.

Anonymous said...

Another point worth debating....

Let’s see, we can make "air" of carrot or pine nut. We can waste time on such frivolous activities, yet we beg for funds for cancer research. We are willing to expend an offensive amount of time & money on getting the flavour of a particular food, but not the nutritional value.

I thought (obviously foolishly) that part of the eating of food, was its texture in your mouth.

Obviously not. But wait, I’ve just had a revelation …. I take it all back! Adria is a genius, a master mind, a visionary!

Just think how much “air of” we could transport by plane. Well think about it people, its light. Huge amounts could be shipped to the Sudan where the staving masses could all have some. I can hear their cries of appreciation, things like, “that was a nice carrot, I’m still starving to death, BUT that was a NICE carrot”.

Adria, you want a real life “air of” experience? Chuck your lips over my arse & I’ll give you “air of fart”.

Best of all, it’s natural, produced locally & has only a small carbon footprint!

Unknown said...

I wish I could say I agree, but I don't. The premise that people are experimenting with this sort of stuff is amazing, coming from a science/engineering/business background, I can see that obviously it would be fun to experiment with different options, but then also would give an edge to those in the gourmet food industry.. I mean seriously, if I could eat bacon flavoured caviar.. I think my brain would nearly explode! You instantly deplore it as a fad, a flashy thing, however I'd be curious to whether you had actually tried anything they had made. This is like a science v religion debate really, you can't prove it without hard evidence that it's "wanky". I'm 22 yet I find it marvellously interesting.