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Molecular Gastronomy-the next generation of food

 Figure 1. Coke Spherification

Nowadays, scientific technology is not only applied to analytical laboratories, but also used by some creative chefs. This new method of cooking is called molecular gastronomy, which was named by a French chemist Hervé This, and a Hungarian physicist, Nicholas Kurti in the 1980s. This special discipline investigates the physical and chemical changes of ingredients during cooking, and the chef aims to make the food more artistic, technical and healthier. For example, coke spherification, is a dessert made by coke. Also, Chef Fung, who designed the dish “Steak-tartare” which made by chopped watermelon with a sphere of mango juice and mints said he liked to trick people’s eyes and minds. “Customers may think they know the dish well, but they will be surprised when they taste it”.

Figure 2. Kitchen as a laboratory

The main purpose of developing molecular gastronomy is that scientists (or cooks) can use new ingredients, tools, and innovative methods to produce amazing products. In the ordinary kitchen, cooks use spices and herbs; similarly, in the laboratory, chemists also use fragrant organic chemicals such as 1-octen-3-ol. If you don’t have mushroom when you are cooking, chemists will add some benzyl trans-2-methylbutenoate instead, because it has a taste just like mushroom. Many chemicals can be used to reinforce the taste of our food, or change the texture so that they will become more attractive and artistic. Also, laboratory apparatus is useful in the culinary preparations. For example, cooks can use a reflux column to keep the flavor of ingredients. There are some other cooking techniques including capsule technique, liquid nitrogen, and low temperature cooking. Treating the kitchen as a laboratory is one of the key ideas to succeed in molecular gastronomy.

The video generally introduces the basic and common techniques used in molecular gastronomy.

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Using molecular gastronomy as a different style of cooking will increase the public’s interest in understanding science, especially chemistry, and inspire people to appreciate their food. Advanced technologies in molecular gastronomy provide more possibilities in culinary art, and people will be more satisfied with tasty and delicate food. Many top chefs around the world are taking the challenge to create fabulous dishes on a molecular level, and with their effort, more people will get to know and try the new way of cooking.


This, H. (2006). Food for tomorrow? How the scientific discipline of molecular gastronomy could change the way we eat. EMBO reports, 7(11), 1062.

This, H. (2002). Molecular Gastronomy. Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 41(1), 83.

-By Qianhui Sun (Tianna)