Art of molecular cooking by Aashima Kapur

Photograph by Aashima Kapur

Science is omnipresent, something we grew up narrating and reading in our textbooks. Science is in nature, in religion, in the human mind, in our surroundings- from a crab cracker to a spork! Science is the driving force all in all. Food is no exception. The science behind food has been probed and milked for more than two centuries.

Molecular gastronomy or molecular cooking - the most triumphed culinary trend and development in haute cuisine, is the chemistry and physics behind the preparation of any dish, for example, why a mayonnaise becomes firm or why a soufflé swells. It speaks about the core of this discipline and how it changes the look, feel and taste of a dish.

Diving deep into the internet, the technicalities of molecular gastronomy is analogous to the titration and colloidal gum experiments we grew up conducting in the chemistry labs of our schools. Browsing through the images of the dishes, the final product is analogous to art and craft classes - Delicately combining colors and flavors to displaying the final product exquisitely. Molecular gastronomy, though has made its way in becoming a new science, is also art and alike other arts, culinary art is aimed at creating emotions.

Photograph by Aashima Kapur

Let me break this down for you- a dim room with a whiff of spices and sweetness in the air, mild orchestral music in an elegantly comfortable space. You are promised an experiential cuisine yet you are unanticipated of what the dish has to present. The maître d' walks in with a plate with delicately placed concoction, hard to decipher. Now imagine the dish you are served is a popular dish completely reinvented, nevertheless maintaining all its flavours. It’s Egg benedict- a dish partnering cubes of English muffin-breaded fried hollandaise with streaks of seasoned egg yolk cooked to a fudgy consistency in an immersion circulator and crispy wisps of Canadian bacon. This is the true essence of molecular gastronomy

Photograph by Aashima Kapur

Alike Artists, gourmets long for new flavors and sensations and chefs long to create something new. The art of molecular gastronomy does not only revolve around creating a third non-existing component by mixing two components like a chemist, but also includes reinventing an existing dish. A dish as simple as an omelette, if recreated can delight absolutely anyone.

Try switching your basic omelette with cloud eggs any-day!

Apart from modifying the dish altogether, molecular gastronomy is art in itself. The limits of your creativity is absolute - from creating and to plating. Though during its inception, this science was confined to famous chefs, it is now demystified and not only practicable but also profitable for whoever wishes to master it. Yes, molecular gastronomy is indeed a burgeoning and one-of-a-kind career. Enroll yourself in one of the many institutes solely for molecular gastronomy and you too, can learn how to convert liquids into a mousse or how to create flavorful pearls that will explode in your mouth.

Photograph by Aashima Kapur

Photograph by Aashima Kapur

But what if you are an aspiring home cook?

Don't be intimidated by the nineteen letter name. There are simple and accessible techniques behind every hard-to-pronounce dish - be it spaghetti made with arugula or Champagne caviar, or piquant Worcestershire chicken wings.

Photograph by Aashima Kapur

Owing to the kits and tools made specifically for scientific cooking, molecular gastronomy could never be more feasible- Go ahead and serve your tangy worcestershire wings along with mojito with a lime air. A lemony mousse drink made with soya lecithin? It will surely leave everyone awed! How about a Sphere of pina colada for a fun weekend or a fancy get together? Yes, you read it right. With science and sodium alginate bath by our side, you can turn a basic drink into icy spheres. Top it off with a cherry foam and you have a ‘drink’ that will entice and enthrall everyone.

Photography by Aashima Kapur

Molecular gastronomy can be as complex or as easy one wants it to be. From quick home recipes to pure chemistry, classification of molecular gastronomy gives us more freedom and choice. Take ‘note-by-note cuisine’ for instance. Dishes made in this style of molecular cooking use pure compounds instead of using animal or plant tissues. This cuisine is all about exploring new products. The dishes made are remarkable pieces with new flavors. These flavors are exceptional in themselves and hard to define- how would you describe the color blue to someone who cannot see?

Apart from creating playful, multisensory experiences with food, what else is entitled as molecular gastronomy?

The art of plating or Culinary style. This simply implies the art of displaying the luscious creations! To our brains, taste is the amalgam of the dish's taste, smell and feel. When food first arrives, we feast it with our eyes. No matter how delicious the dish in front of us may be, it if fails to be visually enticing, we lose our appetite. Therein lies the importance to visually enhance the textures, colors and ingredients in the dish to make it more appealing. Michigan star worthy plating requires cutting, placing and moving all the elements of the dish with high rigor.

Photograph by Aashima Kapur

Place some weak jelly or cleanly leave some vinegar drops with apt equipments and you have a gastronomic presentation. Through assembling the dishes precisely and elegantly you can master the art of plating while reimagining your favorite recipes. The next time you have company over why wouldn’t you add orange pearls to the Champagne and upgrade a classic mimosa, or serve a mojito in a simple spoon?

Within the fusion of culinary science and art, you can discover a world of gastronomic creativity.

Created By
Aashima Kapur


All the images used are clicked by Aashima Kapur

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