Sunday, November 2, 2008

Molecular Cooking Course

Stefan and I attended a molecular cooking course last night, which was very interesting, informative, and delicious. Chemistry has never been a high point of mine, but I love seeing the interesting things the reactions are able to do in the kitchen. As soon as food is involved I'm hooked!

We were the only couple from Munich among the sea of characters. I am certain I took way too many photos and Stefan asked for the chef to repeat ingredients multiple times, but we were there to learn so we took advantage of being students.

The course began with an aperol apéritif. The aperol was dropped to form small liquid filled spheres, which were then covered with an orange juice foam.

What I love about these is that you can use any liquid, alcohol or alcohol free. Also, depending on the width of the syringe you could vary the size. The process of making them was also a lot of fun. These can be used in a variety of ways and even be put into drinks.

The longer it was kept in the solution the thicker the skin of the aperol would be. We were intrigued and it was a great way to start the evening.

Next was a hokkaido pumpkin soup that was changed into solid forms. We enjoyed them with chestnuts and an infused chestnut sauce mixed with olive oil. They were so simple and so pretty.

It was a very autumn type of meal and I loved it. It also gave me something new to do with all of my silicone baking molds.

Not only did we learn how to make foams and spheric creations, but we also learned how to make tagliatelle from liquid, frozen yogurt using liquid nitrogen, low cooked vacuumed packed meat (cooked sous vide), and espumas.

Stefan quickly became a pro at making and cutting the tagliatelle. Depending on how thick the liquid was poured it would create a thin film or a thicker noodle. Again, this could be adapted to making any kind of liquid a solid and slightly gelatin.

The liquid nitrogen frozen yogurt, which was very creamy and delicious. I think watching it be created was a lot of the fun.

This was also one of the points where a pet peeve of mine particularly regarding Germans came out - double dipping. People continually stuck their used spoons back into the bowl, which completely disgusts me. Call me a germaphobic (Thanks Mom!), but I don't understand why it's necessary to contaminate things with saliva when there are plenty of spoons available.

Next was the main course, meat cooked sous vide. I'm not one for meats, although I did try this since it was supposed to be so special. It was very moist and flavor infused, thanks to the lemon leaves and seasoning that it was packed with. I gave the rest to Stefan to finish. The moisture and tenderness was due to the vacuum sealing, so the liquid couldn't escape.

Dessert consisted of fresh mango slices that were covered in our espresso tagliatelle, chili strands, and a coconut milk espumas. It took some time to create, but was also very good.

I really love the versatility and interesting things that we learned to do with everyday foods. It's especially nice that many of the recipes simply call for liquids, which can easily be exchanged to create more variation. I can't wait to learn more about all of this.

Hopefully we'll be experimenting in the near future and will create some fun new fusion meals. It looks like it will be quite some time before we make it to elBulli - reservations for 2009 are already booked.

Edit (May 09): It appears as though Molecular cooking is catching on here in Germany. Since attending this course I have seen several stores carrying the needed mixtures to achieve the interesting results.

Here are a few resources that you may be interested in:
Molecular Cooking + Restaurants Resource
Texture Pro
Molecular Fun (German)
A cook book called 'Alinea' by Greg Achatz (from the restaurant Alinea in Chicago)


Jessica said...

I love your blog and your photos! I am envious about the molecular cooking course too. How cool.

Ps. How do you put the copyrights on your photos?

Cathy60 said...

lecker, lercker !
It seems to be wonderfull and so good. Where did you manage to find such a cooking course ???

Emily said...

So nice of you! - You should check if there is something similar in Zurich.

I put the copyrights on my photos using photoshop. I just made a stamp and then it saves it and I can stamp it on any photo and change the size or color. If you google watermarking you might find something to use if you don't have photoshop.

It was actually a gift from Stefan, but I will get the information and email you about it. The course was in North Munich, near the olympic park. I didn't really know where we were, but maybe that was because it was dark.

Sweet Bird said...

Oh wow, I've always wanted to take a course like this. It looks like so much fun!

Emily said...

sweet bird...
Check your area - you might be surprised and find one! Mine was a gift from my husband. It was definitely a great time and so interesting.