The Test-Tube Chef – The Atlantic

The Atlantic profiles the “father of molecular gastronomy”

John Cueno / The Atlantic

It was dinnertime, and Hervé This was building us a steak. Explaining that a nice sirloin is 40 percent water and 60 percent protein, the French chemistry professor dumped four tablespoons of water into six tablespoons of powdered egg. (As it happens, he was wrong: the proportions are closer to 70 percent water, 20 percent protein, and 10 percent fat.) In went a pinch of allyl isothiocyanate, for a mustardy kick.

“What about having the potato in the steak, instead of french fries on the side?,” This (pronounced Tees) asked the standing-room-only crowd of pastry chefs, professors, and fermenters who had packed an NYU lecture hall last October to hear him speak. He used a microwave propped on a table as a lectern, and moved aside his other ingredients—the dehydrated egg, along with vegetable oil, salt, and sugar—to rummage through a case of clear glass vials stoppered with black lids. He unscrewed a small bottle of methional oil, which has a cheesy-potato flavor, and the room’s fresh-carpet smell gave way to baked potato mixed with high-school gym. “So here is some potato,” he said, pouring the methional into his dough. “How many potatoes do you need?”

Read more from the source: The Atlantic