The science of cooking

Published on June 26th, 2012
The science of cooking

Anyone for snail porridge? Or how about bacon and egg ice cream? Think we’re kidding? Welcome to the world of molecular gastronomy…

What do you get if you combine a restaurant kitchen with a state-of-the-art science lab? An amazing (and slightly crazy) type of cooking called molecular gastronomy, which has freaked out people’s tastebuds and rocked restaurants all over the world.

Using tools you’d normally find in a science lab, the chefs – or are they scientists? – who create this kind of food have come up with all kinds of surprising new dishes, such as bacon and egg ice cream and – you heard us right the first time – snail porridge. Mmmmmm.

Cooking utensils or science equipment?
If you enter the kitchen of a molecular gastronomy chef, don’t be surprised to find smoking vats of super-cold liquid nitrogen, surgical-type syringes, shiny metal water baths, pH meters and other fancy equipment you’d normally see in a crime-solving movie. But why do the chefs need these tools? Because this equipment allows the chef to cook with never-achieved before accuracy, like maintaining just the right temperature for just the right amount of time, or cooling something down in a matter of seconds with liquid nitrogen.

Do you have the makings of a molecular master-chef?
If love cooking and Science, and you consider yourself creative, analytical, imaginative, daring and – above all – curious about the world around you, then this might a really great career for you. To become a master of molecular cuisine, you’ll need excellent attention to detail… after all, when you’re measuring ingredients in fractions of grams, the tiniest mistake could ruin a whole dish and waste many hours of hard work.

What subjects will help you succeed?
If you want to become a molecular chef, we suggest you start paying close attention to everything you’re learning in Physical Science – this will help you understand all the tools and chemicals you can use to make fancy new foods. Maths will also help you develop your accuracy and logical thinking skills.