Anyone seen Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen on SyFy? I’ve been watching faithfully – it’s a fascinating concept. It’s a catering reality show, but Marcel creates or reinvents food using… well, science, yes, but in unexpected ways. It’s called “molecular gastronomy” and there aren’t any recipes for you to try at home, because quite frankly, unless you have access to some fairly esoteric equipment (um, cryovac machine, anyone?) and things like dry ice, you won’t be able to recreate these dishes. I think they go through more agar than a microbiology lab!
Some of the things I’ve seen so far have included making noodles from cheese or wine (NO flour of any description that I saw), tomato foam, tuna-flavored watermelon (to mimic sushi), hot ice cream, edible sea shells and diamond rings. As an example, the cheese noodles were made by mixing up some cheese mixture, then dipping frozen copper wire into the mixture and sliding the congealed tube off the wire. In another example, they sphericalized beer to pop it into an adult root “beer” float. Jellification is also a popular method on this show.
For some bizarre reason, it seems as though they come up with all these weird and wonderful ideas… food experimentation that they’ve never tried before… and start the whole catering shebang TWO DAYS before the event. There are failures – things break or don‘t congeal, or simply taste like crap. There’s a lot of yelling and stress. But somehow, they manage to keep the clients happy.
Regardless, the real appeal of the show is how they reinvent food using various chemical properties. I don’t generally watch cooking shows, but this one is utterly captivating. I do hope, however, that this is not the “cooking of the future” because it looks like even MORE work.