Since the term ‘molecular gastronomy’ became popularised by the main stream media – mainly in relation to the activities and culinary innovations of a number of chefs around the world – its true meaning and core principles seem to have been lost.
Molecular gastronomy is most commonly used to describe the new form of culinary style adopted by chefs including Ferran Adria (Elbulli Foundation), Heston Blementhal (The Fat Duck) and Grant Achatz (Alinea) to name a few. However these chefs themselves have sought to distance themselves from this term as a description of the food served in their restaurants.
Other terms used for this new style of cooking include ‘scientific cooking’ and ‘molecular cooking’ , both of which are in some way more appropriate descriptions of the actual application of scientific methodology and approach to cooking taking place in restaurant kitchens.
In my interview with Herve This (a founder of the discipline of molecular gastronomy) I asked him about the confusion between the terms ‘molecular gastronomy’ and ‘molecular cooking’. His response was: “there is a lot of confusion between Molecular Gastronomy, Molecular Cooking or cookery, and such chimeras as ‘culinary science’ or ‘scientific cooking’. Generally, the confusion is based on the fact that people don’t know what gastronomy is, what science is, and even in scientific circles, there is a confusion between science and technology, or engineering“.
When I asked him to define these terms he said: “Very simple: just hear the words! Cooking is cooking, molecular or not. And cooking means producing food. Gastronomy is knowledge. And knowledge is not food, it’s knowledge!”. He then proceeded to breakdown the definitions (see full interview).
Over time I have collected a number of useful resources which I believe provide an in-depth look into the origins, meaning and future of molecular gastronomy. They also contain information regarding topics such as Multisensory Taste Perception and other areas of gastronomy.
Molecular Gatronomy – A New Emerging Scientific Discipline by Peter Burham et al., 2009
Deconstructing Molecular Gastronomy by Grace S. Yek and Kurt Struwe, 2008
Herve This PDF article by Herve This, Natural Materials, 2005
Investigations of meat stock by Pia Snitkjaer, 2009