Okay… so I’m a fan of playing with your food – at least have fun with it. Eating, in my opinion, is not supposed to be a regimented exercise. It’s supposed to fulfill something more than just hunger… it should be an adventure. But, I’m not sure how I feel about the sensationalist “high tech” cuisine that is taking the international food world by storm.
“Mad food scientist” types have departed from boring old emulsions and stews and turning out quasi-food creations like foam, pellets, powders, air, puffs, and even edible film… Arguably, the leader of the pack is Spaniard Adria Ferran of El Bulli. Literally dozens of articles have been published about Ferran in the past year. Everyone from Jeffrey Steingarten to Anthony Bourdain have sung his praises and marvelled at his creations. His kitchen has been described as a laboratory, full of gadgets, chemicals and strange devices. Creations include foie gras powder, two-foot long potatoe chips, cucumber cracklings… the list goes on and on…
State-side, we have our own food technicians. Homaro Cantu, twenty-eight year-old executive chef at Moto in Chicago. In fact, yesterday, Cantu was featured not in the “Dining & Wine” section of the New York Times, but under “Technology.” He is best known for his “food art.” Unlike the conventional term, Cantu’s “food art” isn’t just a beautifully/architecturally/aesthetically plated food – it’s literally art. With his self-concocted edible inks, edible film and a printer, Cantu prints out his food and then flavors the film on the back with, what else, his own created flavors. A picture of a cow that tastes like steak, a 2D bowl of gazpacho soup.
One of Cantu’s newest fascinations is the laser. With it, he imagines internally seared but externally raw tuna. Even stranger is inside-out bread – crust on the inside, white bread on the outside.
What does this all mean? I concede, it certainly is innovative, creative, novel… and it may even be tasty. I have not had much personal experience with this “space-aged” food, so I refrain from being a quick judge. However, I would like to try it.
But, honestly, I’m very skeptical. Not that I might not find it entertaining, tasty, or even satisfying. But, satisfying what? Curisioty? Boredom? Imagination? Writer’s block? The urge to boast about having tried it (or having secured a reservation at El Bulli – I checked, there’s not a seat open for the next 6 months)?
So, why am I skeptical? I really thought about this. I’m usually an extremely adventurous person (well, when it comes to travel and food), so this was a difficult task. To see my conclusions, see the next post…