Molecular Gastronomy

An Explosive Night of Molecular Gastronomy
On Monday I was idly surfing Facebook when I saw a former colleague offering some free tickets to this event:

Prepare your senses for a culinary adventure of foams, froths and frozen treats as the father of molecular gastronomy, Professor Hervé This demonstrates the science behind famous molecular gastronomy techniques. Acclaimed Sydney chef Martin Benn of Sepia restaurant will showcase his expertise in blurring the boundaries of conventional cooking in order to create extraordinary new textures and surprising taste sensations.

A cocktail reception will follow the lecture where guests will have the opportunity to sample a variety of unique molecular gastronomy concoctions.

Hello? Science + Food = WE ARE SO THERE. Plus it was being held at Sydney Uni, which is like 5 minutes walk from our house. So I contacted Simon and he was happy for us to have the tickets. We met him Tuesday night at the Great Hall and settled in for the talk.

It was – well – underwhelming. I actually think the content was probably quite good. The problem was that the acoustics in the Hall were terrible, and Prof. This has a thick French accent. Basically, we couldn’t understand 90% of what he was saying. He seemed charming though, and very excited. He played around with egg whites and microwaves and liquid nitrogen, and we occasionally chuckled when we could figure out his point. Adam Spencer was the host for the evening, and he gamely tried to “translate” for us whenever he could. My favorite part was Martin Benn’s segment on the creation of his famous Japanese stones dessert. A video showed all the preparation for the fillings (which take two days to make!), and then he finished by actually making some of the stones live on stage. Then to our surprise, waiters started filing out into the hall to give us each our own stone to try! Mine had coconut filling, and it was lovely. It reminded me of an ice cream bar, but a lot fancier obviously. Prof. This continued to bop around the stage and expound in his charming, unintelligible way. He seemed to have hundreds of slides on the science of molecular gastronomy, but Adam was mostly able to get him to skip those (since we we were clearly not following much anyway). And then it was over! The main quad had been set up with several stands were you could see experiments and taste more wacky foods, but we were tired and hungry for our actual dinner so we headed home.

I’ll definitely be wary of going to events in the Great Hall again!

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  1. There’s a reason why Gregorian chants are so slow, and generally deeper in pitch. When you have a reverb time of several seconds, everything is blurred together, and most consonant sounds are lost altogether.

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