Molecular Gastronomy


Well-known member
A pretty lunatic title for a style of cookery, but I think the phenomenon is interesting, partly because its so decadent: food that isn't cooked to nourish but to amuse, excite, tittilate.

The two big names are El Bulli (the first review I read of it I read I took to be a Chris Morris outing) and the Fat Duck. I ate at Bels Diner in bristol which does something similar: Native Oysters with Tomato Ice Cream, an espresso cup of white onion jelly with parmesan air.

If the ongoing media fixation on cookery wasn't quite so pervasive, perhaps so-called Molecular Gastronomes like Heston Blumenthal would be a very compelling proposition.

Is there a Dissensus on this?


waiting for a time
From what I've read, there appears to be a bit of a difference between El Bulli and Heston Blumental's style. I'm far too poor to have eaten at either though, although a friend of mine is going to the Fat Duck this weekend, so I'll get his report.

Heston's scientific gastronomy seems more intent on working out the nitty-gritty of the perfect way to cook things, which can be suprisingly dull in result (chips with ketchup injected into them) but I applaud his aims and he does cook some interesting stuff.

The airs and foams bit though, which I think is more an El Bulli thing, seems less appealing. I mean, I get what they're trying to do, capturing the essence of flavour, but I don't like the feeling of being yet more steps from the origin of food via science. And the whole way they serve in El Bulli - telling you how to eat etc, is so fucking pretentious it's untrue. I see what you mean about thinking it was a Chris Morris piece...


Well-known member
[QUOTE, but I don't like the feeling of being yet more steps from the origin of food via science. ..[/QUOTE]

yes, I suppose the froths and essences are close to the kind of things flavour factories turn out for huge scale food processors and fast food outfits that I read about in the decidedly unsuprising "Fast Food Nation'. Radcially different price tag, though.

I was interested to note on the menu at Bel's in Bristol that there were no references to provenance. "Where does this food come from?" had been displaced by "Look what we've done to it!!".

Which, as you say, isn't a good thing, especially for carnivores.
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