Molecular gastronomy”. In the past couple of decades this culinary buzzword has affected the image of high-end cuisine in a rather astonishing way. In fact, the disclaimer “I don’t do molecular gastronomy!” has been a much-intoned song for those who dread to be associated with the imaginary mad-scientist/chef in his chemistry laboratory/kitchen.
But what does “molecular gastronomy’ really mean? Is it the name of a cuisine? Is it about culinary tricks, food that foams, bubbles, fizzes? And what about the flavor of the pristine local ingredients that we work with?
What does molecular gastronomy mean and how does it relate to my cuisine at Baumé Restaurant?
First off, molecular gastronomy is a science, not a cooking style. It is the science that gives us, cooks, the chemical or physical explanation behind principles passed down from chef to chef, and from parents to children. Or the secret behind the way we experience aromas. And many other significant elements of the sort.
In Molecular Gastronomy, Exploring the Science of Flavor, Hervé This simply explains that ” chemistry and physics, judiciously applied, can tell us how to preserve the tenderness of meats, how to master the chemical reactions that give the crust of roasted meat its wonderful flavor, and how to avoid the failures that are commonly encountered in making various sauces…”. In other words, molecular gastronomy is the sciences that can help us, cooks, become better ones.
In this sense, yes I do use tools and techniques that allow me to bring out the best flavors and aromas in ingredients. Even more so since I strive to select the best ones available. Does that mean that we, at Baumé, ignore French traditional recipes to focus strictly on innovation? Certainly not. Along with new creations, we look at tradition as a base we build upon creatively for more flavor, a better design and more generally an enhanced dining experience. We think about taste, aromas, shape, textures, colors, senses. As such, French “cuisine moderne” learns from scientific research but exists apart.