Saturday, January 23, 2010

Old dog, new tricks?

Is it true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Or is it just that the old dog doesn't want to learn?

By now everyone has heard of the term"molecular gastronomy" and this style of cookery has made quite a few chefs very famous. Homaru Cantu started making edible menus, while Wylie Defresne whipped up "fried mayonnaise" and Grant Achatz seared mango puree on an "anti-griddle". I believe Ferran Adria, of El Bulli, is considered to be the "father" of said cookery. Adria even has branded his own line of chemicals called Texturas (which I happen to have in my own pantry).

I happen to be very intrigued by this form of culinary art and have experimented with a few techniques. However, when conversing with older colleagues, their response is typically the same: "It's on its way out" and "that's just a fad". One associate even said "it's not even cooking at all". My question is, why do some chefs find this style offensive? With today's society, people are looking for the next best thing. I don't believe this is taking away from the art of cooking, but is just a new chapter in the big book of gastronomy.

My father has always said "you never stop learning...either you learn what to do or what not to do". So isn't that what this is all about? Trial and error? Experimenting to see what you are capable of? So to the old and new "dogs" I say there's nothing wrong with bringing something new to the table, so keep doing what you do best.

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