(AV17667) Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking
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(AV17667) Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

all right hello my name is Melanie
Schneider and I am the club president of the culinary science club and it is my
privilege to introduce our guest speaker tonight
our guest speaker has earned a reputation for applying science and
technology in the kitchen he has earned degrees of biochemistry and mathematics
and has combined them with his culinary skills to get him to where he is today
he has experience working in several top restaurants including the Fat Duck
restaurant in Berkshire England there he has worked in the experimental kitchen
helping to develop new creative dishes for their menu
he has written extensively on the science of food and cooking for the Fat
Duck cookbook and has published scholarly research in the journal of
Agriculture and Food Chemistry and the Journal of food science
he is one of the co-authors of the Modernist Cuisine a beautifully
illustrated six volume set dedicated to the science of cooking on behalf of the
culinary science club the food science and human nutrition department and the
Iowa State lectures committee please join me in welcoming chef Chris Young thank you very much thank you Wow a lot
of you tonight I certainly never really expected to be going around giving talks
on the science of cooking as man when he said I started with degrees in
biochemistry and mathematics at the University of Washington but at some
point I looked up for my studies and said you know this really isn’t where my
passion lays and I’d always enjoyed cooking so I figured well I’m gonna get
a job as a cook because well at a minimum I’ll become a much better cook
than I that I am at that point and and also make some money so I was right
about half of that needless to say I ended up knocking on a lot of chef’s
doors because there wasn’t a lot of interest in hiring a scientist with no
formal training as a cook but I did eventually find a wonderful kitchen to
apprentice in and had started working in Seattle’s was in the early 2000s and
then around 2003 I heard about a funny chef with a funny name in England named
Heston Blumenthal who was trying to apply science to his cooking to make
food more delicious to make it more interesting make it more fun now sounded
spectacular so I racked up even more debt and flew myself over to London and
had a meal that was just an epiphany for me the meal actually began with a dish
called the liquid nitrogen poached green tea sour now the best way to describe
this dish is the waiter wheels a garrard on up to your table which is just
fantastic very old-school and they have this cauldron of boiling liquid nitrogen
boiling at 200 degrees Celsius below zero about minus 320 Fahrenheit I’ve got
my math right they take a canister whipping cream siphon squirt a dollop of
what looks like shaving mousse out into a spoon spoon not get into that liquid
nitrogen turning it over poaching it for exactly eight seconds handing it to you
draining it with the from the liquid nitrogen and asking to eat it in one
bite and you bite into it oh my god is it delicious you get this puff of
condensation this dragon smoke out your nose you get the shattering shell in
your mouth you get this rush of coolness and then the soft luscious very acidic
bright lime juice flavor of the mousse in the center and it’s a great way to
kick off the because it says this is gonna be
completely different than anything you’ve ever had before and the rest of
the meal was every dish after that was just this fantastic culinary experience
it really showed you what food could be at the end of the maybe at the end of my
meal that night I knew I absolutely had to have a job here and I said I would be
happy to come back and work for free for as long as you will have me turned out
to be a very lucky thing for me working for Heston was an inspiration I worked
with an incredibly talented culinary team for over five years many of whom
helped us create new dishes for the restaurant but really what I took away
from that experience was what a talented chef could accomplish when enabled by an
appreciation and understanding of the science that goes on in everybody’s
kitchen and the problem is I asked myself where do you turn to basically
learn these techniques where do you where are you taught about this I mean
for me I was able to bring my formal training as a science to bear I was able
to read books I was able to find people and ask questions but for a young chef
where do you learn to go beyond recipes where do you learn to go beyond
techniques and to develop new things create dishes that nobody’s ever eaten
before so around 2007 I had met a like-minded
individual in in the form of my co-author Nathan Myhrvold who is also a
outstanding scientist is actually a technologist I was the former chief
technology officer of Microsoft but the reason we had become friends is we
shared a passion for the science of cooking in fact specifically we shared a
passion for barbecue we both completely nuts about american-style barbecue and
so we used to constantly be exchanging emails of how could we do this better
how can we make better brisket in around 2007 I was getting ready to leave the
fat duck moved back to the States and I sent him an email simply saying
Nathan I’m gonna be leaving the fat duck if you’d like to stay in touch use this
other email address to get to keep in touch going forward 3 minutes later I
get an email back from him the subject line simply said crazy idea the email
said why don’t you come work for me so Nathan had made quite a bit of money
of Microsoft and he said well why don’t you come to my boat for the weekend in
the Mediterranean and I’ll tell you about this little idea I have
so not really a hard option so I spent the weekend on the boat with him and we
just sort of sat down and started outlining the book that we wanted to
exist the book that we really wish we had had ten years ago when we started
getting into this cooking and that’s really how this began we basically
didn’t think anybody else would create this book so I’ll get a couple a little
this out of the way quickly obviously the book is called Modernist Cuisine the
art and science of cooking Nathan and myself wrote it along with my co-author
Maxie millet who came with me from the Fat Duck couple stats you may have heard
it’s indeed five volumes plus 350 page waterproof kitchen manual the pages are
actually washable this is where we put a lot of the recipes and reference tables
that occur in this book on something that you could actually take into the
kitchen it’s pretty big it’s a lot bigger than we ever expected over 2,400
pages but it’s part of the reason it’s so large is it’s lavishly illustrated
with photographs because we really wanted to bring the subject to live we
wanted to share our excitement and one of the ways to do that was in a very
visual way but although this is a lot of photographs we shot over a hundred and
seventy thousand photographs over three years for this book has over 1,500
recipes that were created by our team or adapted from other chefs that have
inspired us in our journeys around the world and it’s pretty big in every other
way however a million words of text if you put each of those words and end it’s
over six miles I I spent most of the better part of last fall walking those
six miles over and over during the proofreading stage but my favorite
statistic of all is this one it’s 44 pounds and of that 44 pounds four of it
sink we had a mock-up made of this before it
was printed by the printer and we picked up a bow that’s really heavy and they
said oh it’s gonna get heavier we why they said the ink said really they said
oh yeah it’ll be about four pounds of ink so sure enough pretty large it’s a
hard book to describe but ultimately it’s an encyclopedic treatment of
cooking it covered expect it started is a book about sous-vide
cooking now I don’t know how I’m not gonna assume everyone’s familiar with
this method of cooking but this is done in most high-end restaurants now I pulled the wrong presentation up that
should have paused I’ll come back to sous vide cooking we cover traditional
cooking as well everything from pot roasting to stir-fry we also cover
things like modern ovens these are controlled vapor ovens pretty common in
commercial kitchens not so much at home we cover microwaves too we also wanted
to take a look at technology that’s maybe more common in the laboratory but
has profound implications on creativity in the kitchen and we wanted to explain
it in a very practical way for chefs so that you can see how this can be used to
really do new things so one example that you see here
essentially this is a rotor stator homogenizer this is a blender on
steroids and one of the cool things you can do with it is you can create
emulsions now mayonnaise is emulsions butters or emulsion one of the ideas we
had is with civil ice cream essentially as you know made from an emulsion of
cream and that’s just an immuno butterfat dispersed in water and there’s
some proteins and there’s some sugars in it we said well what do we need the
cream for so we had the idea of taking flavor for oils like pistachio oil and
using this machine to emulsify it into water with suitable sugars and proteins
to essentially came from create a cream that’s never seen in utter but when you
freeze it it’s got this fantastic flavor of pistachio pistachio is one of these
really delicate flavors that can be very easily overwhelmed by the milk flavor
and other people have problems with milk altogether
we’re able to create an ice cream just from pistachio and nothing but pistachio
plus a little bit of sugar you can extend this idea to all sorts of things
we do a veal cream sauce for a blonde captive oh that’s in fact kosher because
the cream sauce never saw a cow so we think that’s pretty cool we also look at
a lot of the ingredients that can be intimidating or maybe even unfamiliar
but we wanted to really go back and say look a lot of these are no stranger than
seaweed some of them that have been used in Asia for thousands of years but you
can do really tremendous things in the kitchen in the hands of a talented chef
with these ingredients but we also wanted to look at familiar
ingredients that we all know we wanted to look them in ways that have never
before really been considered so eggs are a fantastic ingredient Hank I was
told somebody from the egg council will be here tonight we love eggs we have
hundreds of recipes for eggs in this book because they’re just incredibly
versatile and there’s things you never thought to do with them sometimes we
just wanted to show the sheer beauty of food this is a blueberry those orange
things which are a little hard to see those are the seeds you’ve never really
seen them that way before it just looks so cool up close and this is one of the
techniques we used a lot in the book it’s a normally when you take a
photograph of something this detailed a little bits and focus and everything
else is out of focus so one of the techniques we we use is we actually take
hundreds of photos changing the focal plane a little bit each time and then we
use software to recombine all the information so that everything’s
perfectly in focus it allows you to see into food in ways that you’ve never seen
it before and I think sometimes that can just be inspiring this is a microscopic
photo of potatoes the blue bits are the cell walls the pink globules are
basically your gooey water balloon like structures of starch granules now the
secret to mashed potato it turns out is getting those blue parts broken apart
without rupturing the gooey water balloons so we take a look at basically
the science of how do you cook the perfect mashed potato to keep it silky
and smooth or light and fluffy but without making it sort of gluey and
stringy and it all comes down to basically managing those starch granules
this is another really cool photo I love this is actually one millimeter of steak
now what a lot of people assume is this white part that’s how they think that’s
fat it’s not it’s not fat at all that’s actually the meat it turns in fact if
you were standing quite far away from it it would look like gray overcooked meat
but up close it’s whiter than white if you take an egg white and you start with
it raw it’s translucent but when you cook it it goes opaque and white because
it coagulates the proteins and that protein is now scatter like meat does
the same thing because when you cook meat you’re causing it to gel you may
not think of meat as a gel but in fact that’s what it is
you have the crust you have the flavor creation zone then you have the point
where the proteins are coagulating the meat starting to overcook the chasms
that are being created is actually the water that’s flashing the steam pushing
itself apart is that water expands into steam and it’s actually ripping apart
the surface of the steak by boiling it essentially from the inside out so this
is gonna go pretty quickly but we we really wanted to show how to apply this
understanding in a practical way with lots of step-by-step photos if you want
to learn traditional French cooking if you want to learn Japanese techniques
there are tons of books this thick that will show you how to trust a Jake in or
bone out a duck like a Frenchman but there’s really no book that shows how to
do some of the techniques that leading restaurants around the world have been
doing the last 10 years and that was really one of our early inspirations is
we sort of felt one of our contributions to the culinary community would be to
aggregate these techniques that you could spend a lifetime searching out
otherwise put them in one place and document them in a very clear fashion to
see how to do it so I’ll just flip through some of our pages for a moment so make your head spin a little bit
there’s literally hundreds of them but we wanted to explain why the techniques
work we really wanted to look at the physics the chemistry of what was going
on but we wanted to do it in a way that was practical and useful for chefs or
people who are just enthusiastic about cooking so a few more pages just to give
you a sense of how we try to tell the science story in a very visually
compelling way and I’ll come back to some of these and talk about them a
little later okay so one of the things that we yeah no
don’t go running for the exit I’m really not gonna stand up here and try to
explain for he a seat equation in the nitty-gritty of partial differential
equations but I am gonna explain why we spend a whole chapter talking about heat
because heat is the ingredient that we all use as cooks in this equation while
the specifics may not be important to chefs the implications are tremendously
important because it explains how long will something take to cook how evenly
is it gonna cook why is one technique of cooking different than another very
often it comes down to subtle differences in the heat transfer and the
knock-on effects that that has so to take a specific example that I think
most people can appreciate is grilling this is one of our cutaway photographs
and one of the ways we try to bring people into the process of what’s going
on when you cook food it’s to literally cut things in half so that you can see
inside it because there’s an awful lot going on with something that’s a
seemingly simple as grilling each of these points sort of drawing your
attention to the various things going on just to choose one I’ll talk about where
that grilled flavor comes from that sets grilling apart from say pan roasting it
turns out it’s the drippings that create the flavor of grilled food so what
you’ve got here is a nice hot coal and these are drippings from a hamburger and
the oil basically it starts to evaporate boil off it’s reaching its smoking point
and then the vapors ignite you’re basically forging aroma compounds in now
in those flames a lot of those aroma compounds are carried up by the rising
air currents and redeposit on the food and that adds the characteristic flavor
that makes grilled foods so delicious but of course the yellow part of the
flame that’s soot that soot glowing incandescent ly hot like a filament and
a light bulb and if you get your food too near to that you have soda on your
food and it’s pretty accurate and unpleasant so the trick is getting the
food at just the right height so that you don’t get it soot covered but you do
get those grilled flavors on it so the question is what’s the right height
well grilling is actually really kind of counterintuitive because it’s using
radiant heat it’s the radiant heat of the glowing coals most things the
further you get away from them the cooler it’s going to get grilling not so
it’s like a light bulb if I’m this close to a light bulb and then I
step back the light bulbs about the same brightness girls work the same way
the food is looking at the light coming from the coals up close it’s seeing a
lot of light and it’s very hot you raise it above those flames the temperature
the heat it’s basically experiencing it hasn’t changed you have to get really
far away before the intensity of that grilled heat starts to fall so the idea
of raising or lowering your grill to control the temperature it’s cooking it
doesn’t really work until you get several multiples of the grills diameter
away from the coals and that’s when you start getting into rotisserie or
Argentine asado so this basically shows how the intensity of the radiant heat
falls off with distance and some people say who cares I say why not water is
another thing that we felt was really important to talk about and sort of
share our particular abused I mean at the end of the day you can think of food
as water with a bunch of impurities carrots have as much water in them as
milk does so one of the miracles of nature that it doesn’t seem that it’s
that wet it’s so structured but in fact it’s a very wet thing lettuce my friend
calls lettuce a crunchy water bottle it’s probably the most expensive way to
ship water around the planet but understanding water is the difference
between great sautes and mediocre ones because the secret of a great saute is
getting the water to flash the steam fast enough so that it doesn’t
accumulate in the pan and end up stewing your vegetables because you get very
different flavor reactions depending on those situations so if your burners
underpowered you’re gonna get stewed vegetables not great sauteed I have a
friend actually from Ames Iowa who’s making fun of me today for for being
here but he has an unnatural fetish for dry fried green beans and he was he he
bought a new house recently and said Chris I have this very fancy German
stove and I love to make dry fried green beans but how come I can’t make them as
well as they do with that Chinese restaurant down the street
I said well German stove sure is fancy but a typical wok burner looks something
like this it’s about 250,000 BTU hours of heat coming out of there it sounds
like a jet engine on an your burner your home stove your fancy
one it has maybe one tenth that amount of power if you’re lucky more common
home burner has maybe one twentieth you can’t put enough heat into the pan fast
enough to flash that water to steam and so you end up stewing the vegetables
rather than getting a blistered sauteed texture and flavor so the much better
solution is to use a different technique deep frying vegetables can be fantastic
even as good as dry fried and that’s doable at home getting water into steam
also doing it fast enough is why things like this work I just love that it’s cool it’s really
pretty fascinating what’s going up let’s go back see technology there we go it’s pretty interesting what
you have going on here you have a tiny little bit of water left in that corn
kernel and the oil is bringing so much heat into the surface that that water
just beneath the seed coat starts flashing in the steam now water is
pretty interesting stuff when you turn it into steam it expands in volume by
almost a factor of 1,700 so that steam is trying to escape the first place it
does is a little weak spot at the bottom of the corn kernel so it turns into a
steam rocket liftoff but as he keeps diffusing in from the surface towards
the core more and more water’s being flashed to steam and at some point that
seed coat doesn’t have the strength to hold it so poof it starts to expand out
it’s actually creating a foam in the same way baking bread Rises in your oven
from water being converted into steam but this is just happening much faster
now the reason popcorn ends up crunchy is as that foam expands in expanding gas
cools so that expanding gas cools and causes the foam to become rigid and hard
as it cools that’s why Popkin works now oh okay yeah
popcorn up not that interesting but it turns out understanding those principles
can have some profound implications on how to make crisper skin for example in
your porkchop and I’ll come back to that this by the way is the camera we use to
shoot those movies it’s called a phantom v12 it’s about five of these in the
country and it will shoot high-definition video in about 6,800
frames a second so for gratuitous fun and because I can’t put it in the book
I’ll show some movies this is classic bartender technique of
basically incinerating the peel oils again for dinos characteristic burnt
orange aromas now when you have a camera like this at some point somebody’s gonna
go hey why don’t we get a gun so I think we’re the only cookbook with
a recipe for ballistics gelatin in it it’s great the way it just keeps going
it makes me really not want to get shot so seeing into the cooking process
understanding what’s going on with heat what’s going on with water what’s going
on with the meat and the flavor creations personally I think it can be
interesting for its own sake it gives you a view into the way the world works
the kitchen is the laboratory we all have it’s a place for fun and creativity
and I think that’s what’s interesting about this but I think also exploring
the hows and whys of cooking can become an inspiration this cutaway of a
traditional pork pot roast inspired this dish by our team now this probably looks
like a pork chop cooked by a caveman but the surprise is absolutely everything in
that photo is edible and I’m biased but I think it’s delicious too the ash
actually tastes like gingerbread spice the somebody was asking me about charred
leek tonight those leeks if you push on them you have a molten charge Center
that’s just fantastic the coals a little bit of kitchen chemistry here we take a
prune we braise it in cognac then we take the braising juices from the pork
roast we add a non sweet sugar ice a mold and we boil it into a syrup and
then we just do simple little acid-base chemistry we mix some baking powder or
baking soda and vinegar in you get a nice violent foaming reaction we quickly
coat the confit prunes in that boiling syrup and then we put it into a vacuum
chamber raise it up to about 90 thousand feet high and those bubbles keep
expanding as you reduce the pressure on them and as they do they cool that foam
down it hardens into an edible pumice that tastes like braised basically in
the center you have a chewy molten prune and they have this crisp shattering
delicious pork flavor around it I think it’s pretty fun but even if that’s not
your cup of tea the same ideas can be used for making a better pork chop I
have kind of a love for pork chops and really love for crispy skin so we went
way overboard on the book on skin but essentially this is a technique we
developed were we take our best end of pork loin we take
this skin off and we we pressure cook it to render or basically gelatinize the
collagen in the skin and then we dry it now this bar pretty much how you make
pork rinds we then grind it and sift it into the right granule size so that it’s
gonna stick to the pork loin the best and eventually we’re gonna deep-fry that
pork chop so that that skin puffs up and you get this incredibly crisp crackling
crust on this really luscious piece of meat but part of the trick we use to
prevent the meat from overcooking is we cook the meat separately at the
temperature we like which is about 140 Fahrenheit for pork chop then we just
before coating it with the dried skin and knowing that we’re gonna deep-fry it
we plunge it into liquid nitrogen for about 20 seconds first the idea is
liquid nitrogen is about 200 degrees below zero your deep frying oil is about
200 degrees above zero we freeze the same amount of flesh that we would
otherwise overcook when we deep-fry it so I think liquid nitrogen is a great
thing to have you around your house but even if you don’t you can usually get
dry ice and you can do the same thing with a chicken breast with dry ice it’s
actually quite easy just before I sear it I’ll put it down on a block of dry
ice for a couple minutes to freeze a thin layer of flesh underneath it that
frozen layer acts as an insulator and prevents the flesh from overcooking so
we have lots of recipes throughout the book where we try to put this into an
actual working way obviously we made them all because we think they’re
delicious but throughout these recipes we actually tried to put in a lot of
tips in margin notes and techniques on how you could adapt this even if you’re
not going to do this elaborate 30 hour recipe that takes a team of six people
to do you know maybe you can just take this one part of the recipe and make a
better roast chicken or maybe you can read this margin note and it tells you
where to find the best cut of a ribeye so we tried to put a lot of rewards in
for people to actually take the time to read the recipes even if you don’t make
them so I’m going to talk about one of my recipe one of the recipes that
changed my life in fact we call this the omelet that will change your life yeah
one of the hardships of making the book is we had to sit around eating these
things for years it was was awful and as I said we wanted to do
a lot of things with eggs so we created an omelet
that has this unbelievably soft texture you can see how we roll it up like a
crepe and we basically make a scrambled egg filling that goes into it that we do
out of a whipping cream siphon the overall experience is just delicious now
we said hey let’s go a step too far and make it a striped omelet so we got this
basically pastry comb and we make a black truffle puree with egg yolk in it
we comb it out then we cook it and that sets the stripes and then you come back
and you pour the the omelet mixture over it cook it again and you create these
big sheets that you can make in advance that have this fantastic texture okay so
maybe you don’t want to do that but here’s the one tip I will tell you that
I think will change your life the secret to a great three egg omelet is throw
away one of the whites it turns out just that one act of getting rid of one of
the whites makes the omelet so much more tender so much more rich and delicious
that you kind of wonder why nobody thought to do it before and this kind of
goes into something that we really wanted to explain throughout the book is
sure we can have these recipes we can have step by step techniques but how do
you go beyond that how do you do things that really haven’t been done before so
we tried to create a lot of tables like this now I know you can’t read this but
this is our basically our omelet table we literally made hundreds and hundreds
I think about five hundred and forty variations on egg yolk whole eggs how
much they were blended with water and what the cooking temperature was and
then we sat there eating them to try to figure out what’s that texture like
because it turns out at different temperatures I can get the same texture
with different blends of egg yolks and egg whites so if I want it richer but I
want it softer I need to lower the temperature because otherwise my gelled
eggs are gonna be too strong so you literally can come over to the table and
go oh I want a lot of egg yolks so I need to lower my cooking cooking
temperature down to 70 Celsius to get that texture that I really want
conversely you might want something that’s a firmer frittata like texture
well that’s in the table too so we tried to create a lot of these tables that
condense literally hundreds of recipes and a fairly simple straight
Ford tables that tell you how to make just about any texture you want a little
more avant-garde perhaps is hot fruit and but hot fruit or vegetable gels
might never thought you wanted to make a hot green apple gel but if you do we
tell you how to do it but more importantly it’s choose your texture do
you want it firm and brittle you want it soft and elastic somewhere in between
there’s the different gelling agents that will tell you how to achieve that
texture but it turns out the right proportions depend on the pH of the
fruit or vegetable so over here is a table of typical PHS for about 80 fruits
and vegetables so it’s sort of again choose your own ending but then we have
step by chefs showing how to use these tables putting them into action hot
green apple gel is made a little bit different than a hot banana gel or a hot
orange gel so these are all slight variations but give you a sense of how
you can use these tables to do things that haven’t been done before very often
they’re merely really meant to be starting points for your own creativity as I said the book originally started
out as a book about sous-vide we thought oh maybe it’ll be 300 pages and we
thought we’d really explain how to do sous-vide both safely and how to do it
well because there wasn’t a lot of good information out there on this technique
now for those of you who aren’t familiar with sous-vide cooking this is
essentially where you’re cooking the food to the exact temperature you want
to eat it at so if I want my chicken I cook it to 140 there’s no reason to put
in an oven at 350 degrees better give me crispy skin but by the time the core
temperature reaches 140 a whole lot of that chicken is overcooked it’s sort of
a compromise you’re using high heat to get crisp skin you end up overcooking a
bunch of the flesh and your core temperature is kind of the texture you
want we say why not cook the whole chicken at 140 and then if you want
crispy skin really quickly deep-fry it or use a blowtorch or quickly sear it on
a grill afterwards in other words split the cooking process into two stages cook
it at the temperature you want it at then sear it or blanch it afterwards to
get the surface texture you want don’t compromise with this hotter than
necessary cooking the problem is this is becomes kind of unintuitive most people
aren’t used to thinking about what but you’re do I want my short rib cook
to well it kind of depends do you want your short rib to have a steak like firm
New York strip texture well 54 degrees for 48 hours give you
that in spades maybe you don’t have that much time well if you’re willing to have
a flaky air texture you can use 80 Celsius for about eight hours and then
I’ll give you a flaky texture but those aren’t the only choices of course so we
created tables with best bet times and temperatures for different textures for
different cuts of meat again this was like an incredibly labor-intensive thing
to do we had to go through cooking dozens and dozens of cuts to try to sort
of find out what combination of time and temperature we’re getting to give the
texture we wanted but hopefully these tables are starting points for some of
the chef’s and our audience for example of I want this pork chop medium-rare
what temperature is the best one to use or I want a flaky texture for my
carnitas how to do that or you know what I don’t have 48 hours how can I use a
pressure cooker to get the same result in 20 minutes all of that’s encapsulated
in these best bet tables so that’s how we started out would be about sous-vide
maybe we’ll add a few other recipes in and then we kind of got carried away
as I said Nathan they are kind of barbecue nuts so we said well you know
we’re gonna sell a lot of these books in Europe and like we both kind of got
tired of hearing from some of our European chef friends how Italy and
France they have these great traditions of these micro regional cuisines where
the cuisine of one town is different than another you don’t have anything
like that in America wrong we have barbecue barbecue in Lexington
is completely different than the barbecue you’re gonna find in the
coastal lands of North Carolina and plenty of people from Texas would tell
you that’s not even barbecue the barbecue you find in Alabama is
different than South Carolina so we really wanted to create this map to show
the various micro regional aspects of American barbecue and then we kind of
kept going we ended up creating 12 different examples of regional sauces
was sort of a no-holds-barred approach to making the best version we could and
then we created about 30 barbecue recipes and a couple pastrami’s and then
oh well we should do a cornbread recipe we should do coleslaw recipes so we got
completely carried away and we ended up with an entire chapter on
barbecue so far so good and then one of our cooks angina who’s
from India she comes to uh she comes to me one day goes um you know curries are
kind of like barbecue and I’m like no angina no no we’ve got to get the book
done we cannot do this too much time we don’t need to do it see you can see what
a good manager I’m asked but this actually goes to the point a lot of
people think this type of cooking is this weird revolution that just started
but I would argue all cooking is just a series of revolutions and we’re just
having one revolution right now India is nothing but a stream of revolutions what
was going curry like before the Portuguese showed up with chilies
what about Mogo curry before the moguls or let alone the British before the
British brought dairy into the curries what was an Indian curry like before
there were tomatoes come to think of it what was Italian cuisine like before
there were tomatoes and so this is really the point that cuisine is
something that humans are constantly reinventing we’re always looking for new
ingredients we’re always looking for new flavors and new ways to do things to me
I think new ingredients are wonderful but I also think bringing science and
technology to the kitchen can also be an inspiration to do new things and create
new flavors that delight our senses and that’s what’s very exciting about this
kind of cuisine to me needless to say creating this book was a tremendous
amount of work so it wouldn’t have been possible without my co-author Nathan
Nathan obviously financed this but he was also crazy enough to say hey a book
like this really should exist and who else would do this now not a lot of
people know Nathan as a chef and very few people know he’s a passionate foodie
he’s usually better known for the other things he’s done in life might be
familiar with one of his other products of course he and I couldn’t do this
without a fantastic team this is our head chef max who came with me from the
Fat Duck max made a lot of message to get these beautiful photos you’ve seen
in fact right here that’s how we got this photo it turns out there’s a reason
they don’t sell half a wok it involves a lot of fire and a lot of
things burning up now the person who generally would egg us on and say hey
why don’t we cut a walk in half was this gentleman Ryan Smith
Ryan originally was hired to be our photo editor and when we started
shooting 170,000 photos Ryan was the person who took almost every photo you
see in this book and hopefully if you like it the credit goes here but of
course there was a big team behind even us actually before I’ll mention a few
other team members people ask how do we get those cutaways well we have a
kitchen but we also have a machine shop at our invention company and we really
did cut the stuff in half everyone assumes it’s all photoshop trickery but
no this is a wire EDM where we’re using electric current basically a stupid
amount of electric current to arc and erode through the metal getting a high
precision cut of half a Dutch oven Ted Ellis here whose photos you hand you
just saw formerly was a instrument maker for the CERN nuclear particle detector
he’s now the world’s foremost expert in cutting kitchenware in half but I think
this did serve a purpose of hoping hopefully really getting chefs into the
cooking process of what’s actually going on and getting them excited and reading
and thinking about things they might not otherwise have given a second look the
recipes everything else was due to our very large culinary team I have we have
six full-time chefs who for the last five years have done nothing but
basically cook for us and develop recipes it’s been hardship I know but a
lot of fun there is also a large team behind actually producing the book we
had at the high-water mark over 36 people working full-time on this book
including editors art directors copy editors research assistants and on and
on and on it turns out there’s a reason to book like this hasn’t been created
before it is a tremendous amount of work so hopefully people have some questions
so this is kind of a thank you for for listening to me hopefully you find this
interesting before I go one last thing just for a
little bit of fun fastest way to scramble omelette an egg thank you and questions will be here at the center
aisle anybody has a question sure make it the Inquisition fascinating I’ve done a little food
photography as well as many people in this room and Wow
that’s nothing like what we’ve done so the obvious question is so now that
you’ve done this and you had this whole team assembled what happens to the team
what happens to the chefs what happens what are they gonna go do now you know
we don’t entirely know I wish we had a better answer in that right now
everyone’s been really busy doing dinners around the country promoting the
book but you’re absolutely right we’ve put together a great team and it would
be a shame to lose them so Nathan and the rest of us are starting to discuss
what’s next it’s conceivable there might be a few more volumes it’s hard to
believe we left anything out but the book doesn’t cover pastry baking
confectionary there’s a whole bunch of other stuff that ended up on the cutting
room floor so so there is more to do oh I worked for a chef named William
bilikiss at a restaurant called Mistral William was a protege of David Boulais
and it was a fantastic small kitchen a great place to work yeah hi I’m a
graduate from the CIA and thinking about starting a going to school here for good
science wondering if you have any recommendations starting out that’s I’m
not sure I’m the best person to be giving career advice it’s a little bit
of serendipity that led my path but I certainly think there’s a lot to be
gained by understanding what’s going on in HoN and food and I think the science
can be fascinating what I would say is look broadly take a lot of different
classes and different subjects and gravitate towards whatever is gonna
interest you for me I love meat that might not be your thing but search
around I’m curious about the kinds of food that you worked with it seems that
another important strain of American cooking is kind of shopping to find the
perfect egg or the perfect piece of pork did did you did you do anything like
that seek out particular kinds of eggs or
pigs that had been fed particular diet absolutely in fact we kind of went
overboard in a lot of ways but maybe not the way most people think I’m certainly
not going to defend bad ingredients I’m a huge fan of the best quality
ingredients you can get and so much the better if it’s local sustainable and in
many of the other issues my personal view is really understanding what it
takes to produce a great ingredient is paramount so that you can work with the
producers to help everyone up their game so for example in the meat section there
was a you know there’s a big section on the importance of slaughter what happens
at the farm these are things that are so often done wrong and as chefs if
slaughter screwed up the animals treated inhumanely there’s nothing we can do as
chefs to salvage that ingredient it’s going to be inferior and mediocre so the
problem is as a chef we want the best ingredient but what do we ask our
supplier to do what do we demand for them to do to raise the quality of
ingredients for all of us and so I believe telling people what things
matter what things they should be working with their suppliers to try to
achieve I think that’s important it’s something we spend a lot of time on in
the book both in terms of plant foods but also in terms of animals and
seafoods one of my favorite things I’ve seen come out of molecular gastronomy is
reverse spherification yeah where did that come from the food business in 1948
I believe I know it yeah it turns out that believe the original patent was
filed in England I think it was 1948 it might have been 1951 believe it or not I
don’t have everything memorized it was basically a way of making among other
things it was the way of making artificial pimentos to put into olives
it was the way of making pie cherries that wouldn’t leak juice all over a
blueberries for muffins so it was used in a lot of different ways it’s a common
property of many gelling agents that they’re very sensitive to salt ions and
you can get them do these tricks people like Ferran rediscovered this with the
help of food scientists in the late 90s and basically used it to really
delicious effect to create these wonderful surprising tree so does it
solidify all the way through or still it depends on how you do it if you
do reverse spherification it will not solidify all the way through directs
purification will eventually although there’s some ways to hold it but that’s
all covered in the book Oh so this is basically turns out you can
take certain gels and to get them they’ll basically be gooey liquids and
before and they won’t gel until you introduce a salt ion usually calcium or
could be magnesium at most often calcium and so what food manufacturers realities
hey if we want cherries that are all the same size we want cherries that don’t
leak juices when we bake pie so why don’t we take cherry juice add this
seaweed derived gelling agent and then we’ll just add drops of it into this
salt water bath and they’ll solidifying into Spears and that worked great but
then you could argue well the cherry juice wasn’t very delicious and there
was shelf life issues and so it was you know it was an inferior low grade
product but it served solve certain technical problems that same technology
that same understanding put in the hand of a talented chef like Ferran adrià and
Spain he created these liquid olives that looked just like in all of you pop
in your mouth and it would just be a burst of intense olive juice and it was
fantastic and we do fund the at tricks like that that we’re surprising and
whimsical and so it’s a point that the technology isn’t inherently evil it’s
not necessarily an inferior food product it’s just the constraints that Ferran is
working with are not the same as a food manufacturer just two quick questions
chef do we need bigger kitchens now with all the new equipment that’s coming in
and is that what the next few books are gonna be about no no I’ll point out that
the the kitchen at the Fat Duck was we joking referred to as Bali in a broom
closet it had about six and a half foot ceilings it was my minuscule we cover
every kind of gadget and technology you could want in this book I don’t know of
any kitchen on the planet that has all of these toys nor do I think every
kitchen on the planet should on the other hand I’d make the argument as a
chef I think most chefs are inherently curious people and so I think even if
you don’t have a spray dryer and you’re not gonna go buy a freeze dryer I think
it’s kind of interesting to know how it’s made and and you can make the
decisions of what things are appropriate for your kitchen or
propria for your style of cooking and what things you go hey that’s
interesting but it’s not for me so we cover everything but I don’t think you
need a bigger kitchen I just want to revisit about that
chicken breast hmm we’ve got a server at 140 so I’m told in
this country you can’t legally yeah yeah how do I get that then by quickly
deep-frying that and Chris me enough if it’s have I already is it cold
and I’ve submitted it earlier and it’s cold no so the way you keep it out so
for the the chicken breast so what we would do is we would cook it to 140
Fahrenheit the USDA are the basically the food laws require that you hold it
there for 12.1 minutes to achieve pasteurization otherwise you’ve got to
put that little note on your menu about raw undercooked foods might kill you anyway so you cook it to that
temperature sous-vide then I would take it out and to crisp the skin
I would essentially put it on dry ice for about three minutes seems a little
crazy because you’re freezing it but you’re only freezing the skin and the
bit beneath it and then I’d go straight down on a plancha or a griddle yeah that
will follow the skin very quickly and fry it and crisp it up and it will
eventually melt that ice layer but until it melts that ice layer the heat of the
plancha isn’t going to go any further into the chicken breast so it can’t
overcook it so he’s holding the chicken breast that damaged it that one did you
hold it at that temperature so if you had a the way we would do it is I use a
sieve app oven and I hold it at 140 turn hight for service or I have them in a
sous-vide bag and I pull them to work when the order comes on thank you very
much welcome anything else okay thank you Thanks coming I’d like to remind you
that there’s a book signing and a reception afterwards so will everyone
join me in thanking our speaker one more time

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