An introduction to technological applications of Molecular Gastronomy.
Before learning how to cook, we should know what cooking is really.
Of course, technique is important: we have to know how to break an egg, how to roast chickens, how
to make mayonnaise sauce, etc. but technique alone does not make a dish. The same for piano
playing: if you know how to put your fingers on the keys but if you don’t know which song to play, there
is no song. Hence, art is first, and technique second.
Is cooking art and technique? No, because well swollen souffles, with all the fine ingredients in them,
thrown at the face of the guests are not “good”, : the dish is prepared for someone very particular, and
some “love” has to be given. “Love”? The term seems unscientific, but everybody understand what it
means: a simple sandwich shared with very good friends can be a delicious meal, but a very well
prepared meal shared with enemies is not good. This demonstrates that we eat “love”: love given by
the cook, and love shared with the other guests. Hence the new question: how to give love, in creating
dishes or in organizing meals to be shared between many guests?
Coming back to learning, culinary technique should be learnt in the perspective of giving love, and
culinary art should be learnt according to the same idea.
Let’s consider technique first. As for other craft, cooking is applying processes in order to control
phenomena. For example, mayonnaise is produced by dispersing oil in the water of egg yolks and
vinegar. The oil has to be poured slowly, the whisk has to be moved with enough energy so that
dispersion occurs. During the process of mayonnaise making, a lot of physical and chemical
phenomena occur: oil is divided into tiny droplets that are covered by some particular molecules from
the yolk (proteins, lecithins…), energy is consumed in this oil droplets division and probably also
transformed into heat, etc.
Hence a conclusion: in order to learn efficiently how to cook, it is useful to understand the result of the