This morning, interesting questions :
# Dear Mr. This,
# My name is XXXX, and I am from Hungary. I am writing to you because I would like to ask for your help. For from whom could I get more information about molecular gastronomy than the person who invented it?
# I need to write a four-page essay this year for my school, and for my topic I chose molecular gastronomy. I decided to write about this since I really like making and eating food, but I am also a huge admirer of chemistry, and also because in the future I would like to study something similar at University.
# I am aware that you are an extremely busy person but it would mean the World to me if you could answer a few question of mine.
# It was always hard for me to imagine how an idea which is so unique comes to a person’s mind. What interests me a lot is what your purpose was behind your research? Like most studies, was it a coincidence that you created a totally different food making line? If it was, then what was it that you were searching for?
# How much time went by between your first experiment and your first success?
# To be honest I am convinced that making food is some kind of an art, especially if you make it in a way you do. What is your opinion about it? How much of molecular gastronomy is art and how much of it is science?
# A lot of people now have restaurants where we can eat a meal cooked by your methods, using not only cooking skills and equipment but science. Is there anyone who you think represents molecular gastronomy better than the others? Who you think made it to the next step?
# At university I want to study Food Innovation and Health. It is my dream to work for an international company who tries to stop starvation in the poor areas of our world. Do you think we can reform molecular gastronomy to be not only a fancy product but a base for a nutritional plan?
# My answer :
# Thanks for your message. If you are in Hungary, it's good that you know that we created molecular gastronomy together with my late friend Nicholas Kurti, who was educated in Budapest before moving to France, Germany, the US, and finallly England (Oxford). He died in 1998.
# Now, I comment your kind email (sorry, I always comment, often with smiles) :
# You like cooking and eating : why ? (for myself, I have found the real reasons... and I am not so sure that I would say that I like cooking and eating, indeed)
# A huge admirer of chemistry: do you me an chemistry as a technique, or rather the science of chemical phenomena, which should be called physical chemistry or even better chemical physics ?
# What was and what is my goal? Since I am 6 years old, I am fascinated by the fact that equations can describe the experimental facts so remarkably.
# And the 23rd of March 1980 precisely, I understood thaot cooking was a very old fashioned and traditional practice, for which the three components of technique, art and social were not distinguished, for which bad advices ("culinary precisions") were transmitted, for which the education was outdated, for which a lot of theory could be done, for which technical improvement (technology) could be proposed, and, moreover, for which a science could be introduced, focusing on the wealth of phenomena occurring during culinary processed.
# This science is molecular gastronomy (in the beginning, it was called "molecular and physical gastronomy", but this was cumbersome.
# Indeed, at the same time, the proposal of transferring new tools from labs to the kitchens led to the development of molecular cooking (new technique), which led itself to a new art called molecular cuisine.
# Please, be careful not confusing molecular gastronomy with molecular cuisine or with molecular cooking, as all this is different : cooking is no science.
# Like most studies, was it a coincidence that I created a totally different food making line?
# Indeed here the confusion above can be observed. When I began my works, it was because I failed making a particular soufflé, and this led me to the analysisof the failure. Is this coincidence? Probably not. I had a scientific mind, and a failure meant that my "theory" (indeed, here, an absence of theory) was wrong. So that it was obvious that I should investigate further.
# Later, because I recognized that science could apply to some very old and traditional activities, it was obvious to propose the application of lab's tools to cooking... because this was indeed what I was doing, having at home a lab in my kitchen.
# How much time went by between my first experiment and my first success? Sorry, but I don't understand the question. My very first experiment was the 23rd of March 1980... but the result was obtained immediately. It was about souffles, and it was immediately followed by a collection of culinary precisions, being tested one by one since.
# Cooking and art: this is discussed extensively in my book "Cooking, a quintessential art". Indeed the title of the French version is "Cooking, it's love, art and technique". But indeed some culinary activities are simply craft, technique, and others are art. Just like for painting: some paint the walls, and some others do paintings for the mind.
# How much of molecular gastronomy is art and how much of it is science? Here it's clear : there is nothing about art in molecular gastronomy as molecular gastronomy is a scientific activity... but I know that the answer is wrong because the question is wrong: you confused molecular gastronomy and molecular cooking/cuisine. And for cooking/cuisine, it is the same for any kind of cooking: craft and art depending on the particular goal of the particular practioners.
# Is there any restaurant who you think represents molecular gastronomy better than the others? Remember the confusion between molecular gastronomy and molecular cuisine: no restaurant does molecular gastronomy, but many (most of them indeed) do molecular cooking. For molecular cuisine, Ferran Adria was important, but René Redzepi also... but again, molecular cooking is everywhere. And this has no interest... because of the next step: note by note cooking !
# Molecular cuisine is the past, and "note by note cooking" is THE important think. Aund you will see in my book about it that it is the solution to you lask question.
# Cheers, celebrate Knowledge !