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Molecular Gastronomy - The Wonderland of Culinary Disciplines

Do you like playing with your food? Do you use your kitchen like a home lab? If you do, you’re a budding Molecular Gastronomist. BrainGain magazine brings you information about this fantastic food trend, and where you can learn more about it.
BY Skendha Singh |   23-09-2015
Photo courtesy: molecularbiologynetwork.com

Ever fancied spaghetti made of tomato soup? Wondered why experts insist on holding the wine glass by the stem? Or analysed how your mood affects your taste?

If you have, Molecular Gastronomy could be your true calling.

What is Molecular Gastronomy?

A branch of food science, Molecular Gastronomy explores the chemistry of food – when it is cooked, served and consumed. It examines the interaction of flavor with the human senses (taste, smell, sight, sound and touch), and constantly reinvents the culinary experience.

History

In 1992, two men – a French chemist, Herve This, and a Hungarian physicist named Nicholas Kurti, coined the term. Since then, chefs and scientists have embraced the trend, even if they choose to call it avant garde, experimental or modernist cuisine.

An Art or a Science?

Oak Moss & Truffle Toast
Copyright Fat Duck

Think of Ferran Adria’s ‘culinary foam’, ‘liquid olives’, and ‘fruit caviar’; or Heston Blumenthal’s ‘meat fruit’, ‘oak moss and truffle toast’, or ‘snail porridge’. Molecular Gastronomists combine the curiosity of a scientist with the culinary creativity of a chef.

They not only chop, slice, strain, boil and roast, but also jelly, dehydrate, and emulsify.

Ready to walk through the looking glass into the Wonderland of all culinary disciplines?

Here are a few places where you can train to be a gastronome.


University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy)

This is the only slow food university in the world. According to its founder, Carlo Petrini, food that is good, clean and fair is “slow food”. The University runs both undergraduate and postgraduate programs in gastronomic sciences for students from all over the world.

Undergraduate Program in Gastronomic Sciences

Duration: 3 years program in English and/or Italian.

Course content: The approach is based on disciplines from both the Sciences and the Humanities. In the first year, there are modules such as Food biodiversity, Statistics, Molecular Sciences, and Computer Sciences, along with a practical module, Gastronomy Lab.

In the second year, there are modules on a wide range of subjects from Crop Production to Sensory Analysis, from Food Technology to the History of Cuisine and Wine. The practical on Gastronomy Lab is compulsory. In their final year, students study Ecodesign of Gastronomy, Food Service Systems and Technology, Nutrition and Dietetics, Philosophy and Semiotics of Food, among other modules.

Annual fees: 14,000 euros. This includes costs for academic activities, books, study trips, wi-fi on campus and in student housing, civil insurance, and dining hall pass with 5000 credits (equals roughly 500 Euros).

Application Process:

Opens for international students – Jan 2016
Closes
August 2016

Classes commence in September.
 

Postgraduate Programs in Gastronomic Sciences

Chef Grant Achatz serving diners

Master of Gastronomy – Food in Italy/ Food in the World
Content:
Recently announced, the program is enrolling its first batch of students. The one year course will focus on using the body, mind and intellect to learn about food. International scholars and an accomplished faculty, as well as study trips, guarantee the students great exposure.

The experience is aimed at transforming students into gastronomes, who understand the philosophical, political, poetic and scientific connections of food.


Annual Fees: 16,500 euros.

Application process:

Deadline – June 8, 2016
Rankings available online – June 15, 2016

Start Date: September 5, 2016


Online

The Science of Gastronomy available on Coursera.

(The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Content: Students are expected to be familiar with Science at a high school level. There are classes on the chemistry of fruits, vegetables, steaks, desserts, sauces as well as the touch, taste, smell, sight, sound.

Duration: The course runs for seven weeks.

Other institutes:–

  • Cornell University (Part of Food Science), USA
  • Le Cordon Bleu (Seattle), USA
  • Gustolab International Institute For Food Studies, Italy
  • International Culinary Centre, USA
  • Basque Culinary Centre, Spain
  • RMIT University, Australia

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