Molecular gastronomy is a branch of food science that utilizes the principles of chemistry, physics and biology to develop delicious food that can be presented in new and interesting ways—solid cocktails, fruit jelly caviar, or vegetable foams and bubbles. It’s basically the science of food you thought could only exist in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. It became mostly popular in the late 1990s when some
chefs started to explore new possibilities in the kitchen by jointly using new ingredients, tools and the results of scientific research as a basis for inspiration, hence creating a new culinary trend called "molecular cooking". The most well-known chef of this culinary movement is Ferran Adria, El Bulli restaurant, Spain.
Canada is not left behind with Marc Lepine, L’Atelier, Ottawa. On February 12th, Christophe Lavelle was the guest of Culinaria at University of Toronto, Scarborough
Campus, in partnership with the Consulate of France in Toronto, for a Master Class of 2 hours on 'Culinary art and science'. Christophe gave us the demonstration that molecular cuisine could be simple like a hot foam made with a “beurre noisette”, an instant ice-cream infused with olive oil, a vegan chocolate mousse, and a kind of meringue made with a few ingredients - lemon juice, ginger, gelatine, sugar and water. In fact, you have already all the ingredients in your fridge and pantry. The only issue, you may need to update your cooking gadgets – you will need a water bath or sous-vide, and a whipping siphon to play with your food like a professional chef or a mad scientist. And for the more audacious apprentices, why not to use liquid nitrogen to freeze little pieces of your meringue and create the buzz with your friends when they immediately eat the frozen meringue, or some dry ice instead of regular ice when whipping your mix to transform it in instant ice-cream!
Francoise Briet, PhD
Private chef and culinary educator
Owner of Malty and Hoppy Delicacy
Follow me @maltyandhoppydelicacy and @alchimieetgournandise
Christophe Lavelle is a research scientist at the CNRS, working at the National Museum of Natural
History / Sorbonne University in Paris. He is an expert in biophysics, epigenetics and food science and teaches in many universities and professional schools (including Sorbonne University, Le Cordon Bleu, Basque Culinary Centre…) and is frequently asked for conferences for general public or professional audiences. He is also responsible for the scientific training of cooking teachers at the national level. He is
the author of more than 50 research papers and 12 books on food, including "Toute la chimie qu'il faut savoir pour devenir un chef!" (Flammarion, 2017) and ″Je mange donc je suis. Petit dictionnaire curieux de l’alimentation″ (Editions du Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 2019). He is a member of several scientific and food societies (including the French Biophysical Society, the American Biophysical Society, the Disciples d'Escoffier Society and the Association for the Study of Food and Society).