lundi 20 octobre 2014


Experimental Cuisine Collective
Experimental Cuisine Collective
October 2014 meeting
Upcoming ECC Events
Consult our website for upcoming meeting dates!
Event of Interest
The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a sponsor of reThink Food, a groundbreaking conference co-organized by The Culinary Institute of America and the MIT Media Lab taking place November 7-9 in the Napa Valley. Use the code RTFECC for a 10 percent discount when you register.
Quick Links

Hello all,
We hope that you had a wonderful summer and early fall since we last saw you in June! Our first meeting of the academic year will take place on Thursday, October 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. (note the time!) in the Chemistry Department at NYU, room 1003 (31 Washington Place, between Washington Square Park and Greene Street). You will need a photo ID to enter the building.   
Building on his pioneering work in the science of molecular gastronomy, physical chemist Hervé This will introduce us to note-by-note cooking. 

Just as a modern composer builds a symphony out of waves of pure sound, so a meal can be created by a modern chef using pure molecular compounds to introduce novel consistencies, colors, flavors, and tastes. For instance, imagine the possibilities of limonene, a colorless liquid hydrocarbon that smells like citrus, in imparting citrus notes to a dish where it was not feasible before; imagine using sotolon, with this wonderful odor of nuts; imagine a blue food having the freshness of cucumber, the pungency of wasabi, or the crunchinesss of an apple.

Note-by-note cooking suggests new solutions to problems of nutrition, energy use, and water shortages, allowing for a more environmentally sustainable approach to the culinary arts.

Hervé This is a physical chemist on the staff of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in Paris. His translated works include The Science of the OvenBuilding a Meal: From Molecular Gastronomy to Culinary ConstructivismKitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking; and Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, all published by Columbia University Press.
Please RSVP at ecc092014.eventbrite.comA link is also posted on our website. If you RSVP and can no longer make it, please let me know right away so that your seat can be released---thank you! 

All my best,


Anne E. McBride
Director, Experimental Cuisine Collective 

The Experimental Cuisine Collective is a working group that assembles scholars, scientists, chefs, writers, journalists, performance artists, and food enthusiasts. We launched in April 2007, as a result of the collaboration of Kent Kirshenbaum of the chemistry department and Amy Bentley of the nutrition, food studies, and public health department at New York University with Chef Will Goldfarb of WillPowder. Our overall aim is to develop a broad-based and rigorous academic approach that employs techniques and approaches from both the humanities and sciences to examine the properties, boundaries, and conventions of food.

Visit the ECC online at 

Forward email

This email was sent to by |  

Experimental Cuisine Collective | New York University | 411 Lafayette Street | 5th Floor | New York | NY | 10003

vendredi 17 octobre 2014

Computers !

Which technology helped me most? Computers !
Indeed, in order to understand the answer, we have to consider the job that I am doing. All lies in the "scientific method", which consists in :
1- identification of a particular phenomenon
2- quantitative determination of the phenomenon
3- grouping the data into synthetic laws
4- inducing theory
5- looking for a testable consequence of the theory
6-testing the consequence experimentally
Of course, I don't need technology for the first step: here I just need to speak to cooks (sorry, I don't call them chefs, because they are not my boss and I hate this power relationship in the culinary circles).
Then, for the quantitative determination of the phenomena, the "characterisation", we use such machines such as NMR, GC-MS, etc. In the old times, analysis was very cumbersome, and for example, with the first machines, with paper printed after the electronics, we had to cut the signals with cissors before weighing the paper in order to get a value of the area under the signal.
But here, one parenthesis. I answered "computers", but indeed I teach that there are 3 big ideas for science and technology :
- use a balance
- always try to find a resonance if you want to make something precise (and here electronics becomes important, not only computers)
- use the "method of zero", and here electronics also is useful.
But let's come back to number 2: thanks to computers, we avoid plotting, and we can calculate with signals. Indeed the sole software (almost) in my computer is Maple, a wonderful software because it allows to make formal calculations as you would do with pencil and paper, but cleaner, more easily, etc.
Number 3: again computers are important, because you have to manipulate data. And here I remember that I have to explain why computers are important for calculation. When the trajectory of the moon was calculated by Delaunay, about one century ago (I should check this), the calculation was many months long! Pages and pages. Today, you just press the "enter" button, and it's done.
Number 4  : here we have to create a "discourse" by induction, we have to dream, to think, to invent... and as it's natural language, computers (and word processing softwares are so wonderful). Remember(you were not born;-) ) the time when you had to write with pencil and paper, or the time when you used typemachines! For my first book (a textbook for mathematics), I dropped hundreds of papers sheets in order to get a clean manuscript. Sure, I am not very smart, but anyway, it's a fact, and today, I am so happy to be able to use the return key in order to erase what I don't like, what is not right!
Number 5 : this is again calculation, and again Maple.
Number 6: and we come back to experiment, and analysis, and electronics.

mardi 7 octobre 2014

You said "healthy food" ?

Healthy food ? Healthier food ? 
Do you really think that people to eat healthy food ? I don't.
At the same time, they buy organic food... and they don't peel potatoes ! During the hot times, they eat BBQ, and they smoke, drink.
They want unsaturated fats, but eat chocolate.
And finally (indeed not finally, but the last exemple) there is no safe nutritional rule, except eating everything in small quantities, diverse, and make exercice, which is the contrary to what people do.
Then "healthy" ?