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Molecular Movement in Gastronomy

Ferran Adria of El Bulli

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There is a phenomenon that is stirring the food scene world-wide. It is one that brings revolutionary new techniques, new textures, even new flavors, and it is one that wants to revolutionize the way we see the art,or rather, the science of cooking. This is what chefs and gastronomes have come to call “molecular gastronomy”, the resultant of a collaboration between scientists and chefs. It is the product of an evolving realm of knowledge. Rather then being content with knowing how to do things, chefs are now diving deeper into the craft of cooking to understand the “why”s behind the “how”s, and they are doing this with the help of science. 

If we had to categorize chefs as artists or scientists, most of us would put them in the former. Despite having invented cooking even before the dawn of history, human civilization still widely regard cookery with awe and wonderment as we would regard magical. Indeed, the transformation of raw ingredients into comforting, piping hot fodder for our body and soul, is akin to mystical powers—and the chef, the wizard in the kitchen. 

Yet with the advent of molecular gastronomy, chefs are now categorizing themselves as scientists. They may still be a minority group of chefs at present, but they are proud and prominent. As a matter of fact, these revolutionaries are dominating the world’s dining scene today: the revered Ferran Adria of El Bulli at Roasa, Spain; the adventurous Frenchman Pierre Gagnaire in Paris; the culinary maverick Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck at Bray, Berkshire, United Kingdom. While some are embracing the new concept and new cuisine, others predict this to mark the decline of cuisine as we know it. Does science elevate cuisine or does it take the soul out of the art?

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