Two takes on Molecular Gastronomy

I am in love with a blog I’ve just found called resistance is fertile, and am working my way through the archives, finding joys like this take on “101 quick meals”and this, which involves chocolate and poetry, and is beautiful.

Lagusta is an anarchist chef living in upstate New York who runs businesses delivering home cooked vegan meals and making chocolates, including one called a Furious Vulva. And she thinks that all vegans should go to Alinea, the famed Chicago restaurant of Grant Achatz recently ranked the best restaurant in North America, and the seventh best restaurant in the world:

vegans should be embracing this molecular gastronomy business. It’s so vegan friendly. It uses tools we’ve been using forever (agar, kuzu, flax seeds, various powders and elixirs), but it uses them unapologetically, not as “replacements,” but as interesting elements of a dish on their own merit.

Several world aways is Oliver Peyton, an Irish-born art lover and restauranteur. He seems much more straight-laced than Lagusta, but is apparently known for running off at the gob sometimes.

I was looking for Luke Ngyuen videos on the SBS food site, when I stumbled across Peyton’s “Eating Art“, an examination of the antecedents of molecular gastronomy in modernist art.

The show has some painful sequences of Peyton striding around in picturesque international locations, but starts to fly when he asks fancy New York chef Sam Mason to interpret Cezanne’s still life Apples and Oranges (1899). Mason (re)constructs sharp-edged boxes of intense appley-ness, that nod at both Cezanne’s determination to see and capture structure and his urge to move his craft forward

Wylie Dufresne of wd-50, gets the altogether more grim Juan Gris’ Bottle of Rum and a Newspaper and constructs an octopus terrine eaten with a toasted saffron cake, pickled ginger and pine nuts that have had very, very, very elaborate things done to them. It looks amazing.

And finally, at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Northern Italy, a three course Futurist fancy including a fake roast ham (cooked sous vide, blow-torched for colour and complete with atomised aromas); then a thin square of freshly hand minced raw beef, laid with a path of salty flavour.

It concludes with a triumph of nostalgia. Foie gras is infused with milk and cherrywood smoke and cooked sous vide. A stick is inserted, then it’s injected with the local Modena balsamic and rolled in roasted almond and hazlenut. I couldn’t manage a screenshot even as shabby as the two above, so you’ll have to take my word for it that they totally made a Golden Gaytime. In proper Marinetti-fashion, it is served accompanied by a large Italian man booming avant-garde poetry.


#1 Dr Sista Outlaw on 04.05.10 at 11:20 pm

Fab post – that sort of food fills me with wonder (and I discovered that blog this week!)

#2 Zena on 05.05.10 at 10:06 am

Delicious blog post. The notion of edible art is something that I find quite lovely. I might have to give that a go. :-)

#3 dogpossum on 05.05.10 at 10:23 am

oy, that’s amazing. I like the bit about vegans being proud of gastronomic scientificitude. I used to get vegan icecream sundaes at Vegie Orgasm on Smith St, and they were definitely glorying in their ‘fake’ness – huge, towering sundaes of soy and fruit and things.

#4 Helene on 05.05.10 at 1:28 pm

Oh dear Twitter… you have led me into yet another place of ripe-for-the-picking worthwhile distractions. And resistance is fertile so… thanks.

#5 barbara on 06.05.10 at 2:41 pm

I’m new here after seeing your name on Twitter. I absolutely love the show Eating Art. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

#6 lisa on 08.05.10 at 2:31 pm

Great links, thanks!

#7 Eddie Shepherd on 30.07.11 at 12:00 pm

If anyone is interested in seeing more vegetarian ‘molecular gastronony’ (I dislike that term – I think avant-garde, modernist, or simply modern is better) then I’d be be interested to have feedback on what I’m doing in the uk in modern vegetarian cuisine –


#8 Dr Sister Outlaw asks, ‘do the basics matter’ and ‘what is the world coming to with these young people’? | on 02.08.12 at 9:34 pm

[...] ways in which the chemistry and physics of cooking affect taste. The highest expression of this is molecular gastronomy, which is iconoclastic in the way it challenges rules and understandings but does through via [...]

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