Toward a better dining experience: The emerging science of molecular gastronomy
A new and relatively little-known scientific discipline called molecular gastronomy has quietly revolutionized the dining experience in some famous restaurants and promises to foster a wider revolution in other restaurant and home kitchens. That's the conclusion of an article in ACS' Chemical Reviews.
In the article, Peter Barham and colleagues present a sweeping overview of molecular gastronomy, which focuses on the science behind food preparation techniques, including the chemistry of cooking. "Our basic premise is that the application of chemical and physical techniques in some restaurant kitchens to produce novel textures and flavor combinations has not only revolutionized the restaurant experience but also led to new enjoyment and appreciation of food," the scientists note. Examples include the restaurants El Bulli in Spain and Fat Duck in the United Kingdom, which have become regarded by some as among the finest in the world after adopting this scientific approach to cooking.
The new science pays particular attention to the conditions that underpin an individual's enjoyment of food, including flavor levels in a food dish and even a diner's "frame of mind" for enjoying a meal. The authors note that "we may be able to serve different variants of the same dish to our dinner party guests so that each has their own uniquely pleasing experience. If molecular gastronomy can achieve such a goal, it will go a long way to changing forever the public perception of chemistry."