Is Heston ‘Noroboy’ Blumenthal worried? Top chefs ditch molecules and embrace producers

AFP reports that after years of enthusiasm for molecular gastronomy, with its battery of gels and emulsions, many leading chefs are turning back to focus on ingredients and where they come from.

A number of Michelin-starred chefs at this week’s Madrid Fusion, an annual gastronomy fair in the Spanish capital, said they were now looking to take more care in sourcing their ingredients — by getting to know the producers, for example.

Michel Troisgros, the owner of the Maison Troisgros restaurant in Roanne, central France, told AFP,

"In traditional cooking too, there were obsessions, techniques, ways of presenting the food, stupidities, mistakes, excesses, ignorance."

Troisgros believes more care should be taken over ingredients, saying he recently went to meet caviar producers in Granada, southern Spain.

"It was the first time I’d ever seen sturgeons being farmed or watched the caviar being taken from the fish," he said, calling the experience "wonderful."

It may do wonderful things for food safety, if the chefs ask the right questions of their suppliers. Things like water quality, soil amendments, and human hygiene.

"Now when I make endives with caviar, I know where the caviar came from, I know it is organic and I know the endives came from my local producer — I know the people and I know the product.”

Sigh. Local does not make the product microbiologically safe. I’m sure the producer is a wonderful person – but show me that data.

Alain Ducasse, the head of an international empire with a total of nine Michelin stars for his restaurants in London, Paris and Monaco said chefs have a role to play in leading opinion in this field, “… talking about ingredients, producers, sustainable development, the planet — things I have supported for a long time."

Try not to make your customers barf.

It’s all fun and games and molecular gastronomy sounds cool – until someone loses their hands

I played lots with liquid nitrogen as a graduate student in molecular biology and genetics back in the mid-1980s (the music was so bad I listened to baseball games on the radio during evening lab sessions).

A 24-year-old man from Stahnsdorf near Berlin was poised to try out a new recipe from the school of molecular cooking, which aims to apply scientific processes to gastronomy.

There was an "enormous explosion", according to the Berliner Morgenpost daily.

The man lost one hand in the explosion and the other was so badly injured it had to be amputated.

Hockey and triathalons – don’t swim in the Oklahoma River

I miss hockey. The closest ice is two hours away. I used to play 4-5 times a week, coached a whole bunch of girls teams, and now I’m in Kansas, watching TV, and I’m fat.

Maybe my friend Steve will guilt me into getting back into shape. But Steve doesn’t have a six-month-old, and Ben does, and he understands the laziness.

Amy spent 6 years doing her PhD at the University of Michigan so figures she’s a Detroit Red Wings fan. Last year, she watched more of the Detroit- Pittsburgh final than I did while we were in Quebec. Detroit just eliminated Chicago in overtime, and I’m still crushed that Carolina lost in 4 games.

If I’m going to work on fitness, it won’t be the triathalon.

More than 100 athletes who swam in the Oklahoma River during a triathlon earlier this month have returned health questionnaires from state officials investigating an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness among participants in the event.

Laurence Burnsed of the Oklahoma Health Department says several athletes who were sickened have also provided stool samples to aid the investigation.

The Boathouse International Triathlon, including a 1.5 kilometer swim in the downtown river, was held May 16-17. The cause of the illness remains under investigation.

BTW, those old farts in the pic, upper right, haven’t won the faculty tournament since I left in 2005.