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St. Louis, MO 63117
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Ask The Chef

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Spain’s Top Chefs Clash Over Ingredients and Culinary Innovations reads a headline in Sunday’s New York Times. Some Spanish chefs, particularly Ferran Adria, have been on the forefront of molecular gastronomy — the current food trend of changing the textures of food to create new food sensations. Molecular gastronomy applies the food science used in packaged foods to haute cuisine. Sometimes the results are delicious, other times it’s just weird. To eat in a restaurant using such techniques means studying the food intellectually as opposed to emotionally relishing it. Some chefs have prided themselves on removing the stoves from their kitchens, so that the meal preparation is in a laboratory.

Browned food tastes better than food that has not been browned. I love the taste and smell of caramelized, crispy food — be it meat, vegetables, or meringue. Roasting touches the soul, which these avant-garde chefs are missing in their efforts to make fried anchovy ice cream or an edible paper menu. To create these foods, the chefs often use the unpronounceable ingredients listed in packaged foods.

I always encourage cooks to create delicious food. But are these new menu items as satisfying as a piece of fresh blueberry pie with homemade vanilla ice cream?