As a professional chef, you possess a wealth of knowledge regarding the science behind the culinary arts. Understanding how proteins break down during the marinating process, the properties of fat and oil, and the characteristics that determine different cooking times for different products keeps chefs at the top of their game. Molecular gastronomy and molecular mixology take this kind of information a step further, enabling professional chefs to invent dishes and drinks that customers have never seen before and will not be able to purchase anywhere else. If you love a creative and scientific challenge, get ready to use your favorite bar shakers in ways you never thought of before.
Modernist Cuisine: See-Through Pasta
El Bulli’s Chef Ferian Adria, a pioneer in the discipline of molecular gastronomy, offers clients a truly surprising experience – transparent ravioli. He creates see-through pouches from potato starch and soy lecithin which dissolve immediately upon contact with water. They remain fairly unaffected if touched by oil or many other liquids. Customers dip the ravioli in the chef’s green pine cone infusion to begin the dissolution process, then quickly put it in their mouths, where the contents burst onto the tongue. Another avant-garde technique involves carbonating berries and other fruit through the use of dry ice or by filling a carbonating siphon with carbon dioxide.
Molecular Mixology and Spherical Drinks
Chef José Andrés of Los Angeles’s Bar Centro and Minibar amazes patrons with his fascinating concoctions. These include the "nitro caipirinha," which involves freezing a caipirinha with liquid nitrogen at the table to create a potent slush, as well as carbonated mojito spheres. To make the mojito spheres, Chef Andrés uses a process called “reverse spherification.” The recipe for such a drink entails mixing up a mojito, using a high quality muddler to crush mint with lime juice. The mojito mix then must be combined with another mixture including sodium alginate, and the resulting product is carbonated. The spheres offer a whole new way for clients to enjoy a traditional-tasting favorite.
Tailoring an entire menu of modernist cuisine works best with a clientele eager to try new things and willing to expand its horizons. Even for chefs whose customers prefer more traditional fare, there is value in adding a few avant-garde selections to the menu. Once customers realize you offer something that no one else has, your marketability will increase.