Ce n’est pas un oeuf.


Late last year, The Guardian in London published an open letter from Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and penned my Harold McGee disavowing the term "molecular gastronomy." It was published here this past Spring in Food arts.  But the media keeps ooo-ing and ah-ing about "molecular gastronomy" and it’s becoming really wearying.  The latest circle jerk happened week before last when Top Chef contestant Marcel was accused of swiping a Wylie Dufresne preparation on Grubstreet, the NY mag blog, after an article in Wired, which inspired a response to grub street, and much discussion on the excellent Gurgling Cod–all of which amounts to little, really, since Adria really originated the idea, and I saw an egg yolk trompe-l’oeil at Trio in 2005.  So did Dufresne steal it from, Achatz?! Or Adria?I Who gets the credit?  Who cares? 

Only Homaro Cantu, perhaps, who has a copyright notice on his menu. (Pete Wells said all there was to say on the issue of actual legal credit.)

What’s important to see, and what’s significant about the letter from Adria et al is not that the Father of Molecular Gastronomy is disavowing the term (though that’s pretty interesting), it’s that they all do WANT a term, a name.  Not for agar and foam, but for the more general changes that have swept through the culinary landscape of which avant garde cuisine is an interesting and meaningful sliver.  In my column from this month’s Restaurant Hospitality magazine, they say we are at a turning point in culinary history, and it’s every bit
as substantial as the changes that happened in the late 1960s called
Haute Cuisine.

This IS an egg.  And there is no better garnish for a poached egg than asparagus, with the molecules of lemon zest and the protons and neutrons of freshly ground black pepper.