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Molecular Gastronomy

A brief insight into the niche concept of molecular gastronomy
by

James Attard

on 3 September 2013

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Transcript of Molecular Gastronomy

Molecular Gastronomy
What is Molecular Gastronomy
Molecular Gastronomy is a sub-discipline of "Food Science" that attempts to study the application and nature of food chemicals additives & the various physical & chemical changes of substances whilst cooking. In doing so the study of "Molecular Gastronomy" has not only revolutionised the culinary world by giving birth to new dishes but has also given a radical twist to classical dishes.
Molecular Gastronomy: The Origins
Principles of Chemistry and physics are constantly utilised in cooking, there would be no cuisine without chemical and physical reactions.
Some innovative Making Use of Molecular Gastronomy
Why study Molecular Gastronomy ?
Given the vast spectrum of acceptable food additives and chemicals that are nowadays available thanks to advances in physical and organic chemistry, we are now presented with a priceless window of opportunity to exploit these to the world of cooking.
Core Principles in Molecular Gastronomy :
Molecular Gastronomy in the Maltese Islands is still an emergent niche, as a matter of fact solely isolated elements and aspects of this discipline are utilised by Maltese practitioners. As a matter of fact the Instititue applies molecular gastronomy at its "Vaults" Restaurant to produce food items such as "Strawberry Pearls" through the chemical reaction yielded by "Spherification"
Having identified a fervent demand for Nouvelle cuisine and a labour supply shortage with respect to people skilled in this culinary discipline, the aim of this presentation is to give a brief overview of Molecular Gastronomy and some of the major applied principles and derived recipes.
The Pioneers :
Hungarian Physicist Nicholas Kurti (1908-1998) & French Physical Chemist Hervé This (1955- )In 1988, This and Kurti presented a Series of lectures. Entitled "Molecular and Physical Gastronomy".
The Innovator :
Adrià Ferran Incorporated these principles into his dishes & culinary repertoire at the three star michelin restaurant "ElBulli" in Spain.
Spherification
Foams
Gels
Emulsions
Stabilisers
Spherification
Foams
Gels
Emulsions
Stabilisers
A "Colloid" in Chemistry is the term given to any substance whose molecules are microscopically dispersed in another substance. A substance which is microscopically dispersed in water is called a "hydro-colloid"
Foams are simply mixtures of gases dispersed in liquid. Real Life examples of such substances include : Lobster Foam, Food liquid extract and dairy products such as milk and cream.
A solid Foam is however a colloid whereby a gas is dispersed in a solid : meringue & butter is an example of such types.
A process by which a liquid is shaped into a crystalline sphere that are frail and juicy to the touch
The chemical Reaction between Sodium alginate (C6H7NaO6)n and Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) or Calcium Chloride (CaCl2).
Each drop of the alginated liquid (a liquid such as fruit juices or concentrates and oils with Sodium alginate) form into a small sphere in the calcium solution. Then, during a reaction time of a few seconds to a few minutes, the calcium solution causes the outer layer of each alginated liquid sphere to form a thin, flexible skin.
The above chemical reaction has to take place via the medium of iced water.
A gel is a colloid of a liquid (which is the dispersed medium) in a solid (the continuous medium). Gelatin and Jam are examples of such.
The chemical principles behind gels is "cross-linking" which is the binding effect between polymers (large molecules). Gels do not exhibit flow in their stable state.
Some Gelling agents utilised in molecular cooking are : Carrageenan, Gelatin and Agar
Physical and Chemical reactions and substances that result in gelling include :
-crystallisation
-Acid reactions
- Alginates (via electrostatics)
-Percolation
An immiscible liquid is one which does not blend or mix with another liquid.
An emulsion is a mixture of one or more of these liquids ; whereby one liquid is dispersed in the other.
Emulsions tend to be white when all light it equally distributed due to an effect called the "Tyndall Effect"
Emulsions are normally unstable both thermodynamically (heat dispersion) and kinetically (movement of particles), hence they do not form spontaneously but through a process called "homogenisation" (i.e. through shaking, stirring etc..)
Examples of emulsions are : Milk (Fat and water), vinaigrettes and mayonnaise.
Addatives and substances that cause emulsion are known as "Emulsifiers" these include :-egg yolk (lecithin) -Soy lecithin
The molecules of some foods tend to be unstable such as those in emulsions as previously stated due to the interface between the dispersed liquid and the continuous liquid.
A stabiliser helps maintain the state of the food molecules e.g. helps maintain an emulsion without the need of constant stirring or homogenisation.
These are usually gelling agents as stated before or thickeners like xanthan gum.
Thickeners usually give emulsions a more viscous texture.
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