Molecular gastronomy at its most basic: Chef Heston Blumenthal makes chocolate mousse in five minutes using nothing but chocolate and water. (Heston Blumenthal (previously, pre-previously) [SLYT]
Chef Grant Achatz plates the final dessert course at Alinea. Or perhaps you'd prefer the chocolate pumpkin pie or the edible balloon? Bon appetit!
Drive 8.7 km (5.4 miles) west of the municipality of Roses in Catalonia, Spain, and you'll get to the gates of the renowned avant-garde restaurant, El Bulli. Run by Ferran Adrià since 1987, the restaurant closed in 2012 due to Adrià and his partner Juli Soler losing a half million Euros a year on the restaurant and Adrià's cooking workshop in Barcelona. Slate's Noreen Malone wrote an article on the history of the "I Ate at El Bulli" piece, giving an overview of tropes that you could expect in an IAaEB piece, and you can browse images tagged "elbulli" on Flickr for snapshots of personal experiences. But for an extended look into what went into making the ever-changing 35-course taster's menu, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (Trailer on YT and Vimeo) is a 109 minute documentary on the preparation and implementation of the 2008/9 season, an "extreme fly-on-the-wall vérité, with only the barest context provided." If you're looking for recipes, Molecular Recipes has a few listed under the El Bulli tag. [more inside]
Then, coming on six o'clock, Mr. Myhrvold, the former Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft and an inventor with hundreds of patents to his name, came in, wearing chef's whites, and ushered us into dinner. Boy, people eat early around here, I thought. Little did I know I would be eating non-stop for the next three hours. (previously: 1,2) [more inside]
Molecular gastronomy - the use of industrial and scientific processes in the culinary arts - has been discussed before, but in the last few years a number of tools and techniques have appeared that make some of the fancy pantsy schmanzy creations of molecular gastronomy possible for the home cook... [more inside]
Cooking Issues (mentioned here and here previously), from French Culinary Institute Instructors Dave Arnold (previously) and Nils Norén (former Executive Chef at NYC's Aquavit and Top Chef Masters participant) is a blog exploring cutting-edge cooking techniques. While some techniques they describe require expensive and specialized equipment like liquid nitrogen dewars, a 1750°F custom-made loggerhead (also profiled here), a wet grinder (for ketchup "chocolate", of course!), or a turkey whose leg bones have been replaced with aluminum tubes through which an immersion circulator pumps hot oil, many others are well within the reach of the motivated home cook: gin-infused cucumbers, clarifying lime juice with agar, using enzymes to dissolve citrus pith for zest and supremes, quick-infusing liquor with a whipped cream maker, or making the world's best french fries (part 1, part 2). Here they are demonstrating some of their techniques on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. [more inside]
Hervé This, dubbed the "Father of Molecular Gastronomy", is also known as the man who unboiled an egg.
Carbonated watermelon. Gelatin spheres with liquid centers. Broths and sauces whipped into foams. When the world's best chefs want something that defies the laws of physics, they come to one man: Dave Arnold, the DIY guru of high-tech cooking. Want to turn your kitchen into a science lab? Check out 25 extreme kitchen gadgets. Related, previously on Mefi: molecular gastronomy.
DIY Food Sci: Mefites have discussed molecular gastronomy techniques such as sous-vide and famous practitioners such as El Bulli (photos) or Alinea (review), but apartment chemists are experimenting both with the chemical and the physical techniques of the pros. An anti-griddle cooktop may run you $1060, but cheaper tools of the trade can be found online or in your neighborhood health food store. Find perfect flavor and odor matches based on similar amines at Khymos.org, inspiration at Hungry in Hogtown, or learn about the common chemicals used, but don't let the Man keep you from your hot ice cream and kumquat caviar again.
Hungry in Hogtown may be Toronto's best food blog. This guy goes all-out to recreate his favourite recipes, whether it requires rendering 50 pounds of horse fat to make french fries, or sourcing bunny scalps for a crispy snack. Oh, and his most recent post is about Kool-Aid pickles.
Definitely Not Your Mom's Cooking, But Comfort Food Of A Sort: that is, if you're an avant-garde seen-it-all, eaten-it-all gastronome whose jaded taste-buds crave a jolt of novelty, humour and sheer flamboyance. By far the most exciting, celebrated and downright controversial chef on God's good earth is called Ferran Adria. His restaurant, El Bulli has just re-opened, after the yearly six-month period experimentation of challenging new dishes in his taller/laboratory. [More inside.]