There have been so many different terms used to describe a meal. Nouveau Cuisine was one of the first phrases used to describe a particular type of dish you might expect. It literally translates as the new food. It doesn’t really say a lot. But many people were under the impression it meant tiny portions of food. They expected elaborate garnishes and little substance. For many chefs, it was an opportunity to strip food back to the bare basics. Gone were the rich sauces that hid the natural flavours of the meats, fish, and vegetables. The food was simple, even if it looked incredible.
Since then, there have been plenty of labels to describe a certain style of presentation or preparation of top quality cuisine. But the latest is causing quite a stir. Molecular Gastronomy may have been the buzz term of the day for only a short time. This is because it created a misleading impression of what you might get.
Molecular Gastronomy is the art of creating something new from the foods you eat. It requires an understanding of the physical and chemical changes that occur as you prepare and cook food. Chefs can create visually stunning dishes. It’s clever, creative, and quite a technical art form. But many top chefs before using the terms Modern Cuisine or Modernist. It seems customers didn’t like the idea of science being involved in their meals!
Still, techniques like ‘spherification’ can make honey and oil look like caviar. The trouble is, it isn’t caviar. It looks good, and may even taste stunning. But the diner may feel just a little disappointment that they’re not getting to eat real caviar! And for those of you looking for simple fare or pub grub, you’re not likely to find a pizza among the menu options.
So why would you eat food that has been created in this way? Molecular Gastronomy is an exciting concept. It appears there is no limit to what can be achieved through the manipulation of basic ingredients and the creativity of a head chef. It certainly paves a way for fame and fortune for those that spend their time experimenting in the kitchen. After all, who wouldn’t be just a little curious to try invisible canapes or triple taste duck fat?
Of course, there will always be a little concern that playing with food in this way could be harmful to your health. If you want food that goes pop in your mouth, then why aren’t you buying real caviar? Is it safe to eat? Modern Cuisine in a restaurant contains no harmful chemicals. Natural ingredients create the effects you’re seeing, smelling, tasting, and feeling. The creations are designed to surprise and delight all your senses. They’ll even provoke emotional intensity.
Molecular Gastronomy is certainly adding a touch of flair to the menus of top restaurants. But you might be forgiven for just wanting to eat the food the way it comes naturally. It can feel like art more than nourishment. Of course, if you’re after a flavour sensation, then maybe it’s time you sampled the latest development in cuisine.