Canadian Foodie, Valerie Rodgers-Lugonja, sent me an email last week with a rather odd request asking if I would be interested in taking my Thermomix (and hers) to Harvard University. The machines were needed for a food science demonstration being put on by Bill Yosses (the White House Pastry Chef) and Najat Kaanache, “apprentice to the world’s best chefs”.
|Chef Bill Yosses at Harvard with the Thermomix|
Lynette MacDonald, Australia’s Thermomix Queen, who knew Najat from when she traveled to Australia, was enroute from Australia but without her machine (different voltage). Two machines were needed and none could be found in the Boston area so Lynette called Valerie and Valerie called me because, in her words, I was the only one crazy enough to do this on short notice.
We also received some insight into the lives of these two chefs. Bill Yosses revealed that President Obama’s favourite dessert is banana cream pie, and Najat told of what she learned at the hands of some of the greatest chefs in the world: patience, discipline and the luxury of simple food.
But nothing was simple at this lecture while liquids foamed, honey freeze-dried, and Bill Yosses explained the complex nature of emulsions, foams and gels.
It was hard to detect what was the real thing and what was created through molecular gastronomy.
This course was not so much about how to create olive spheres and pink foam, but more of what happens to food when science is introduced. Fascinating, yes — maybe not for the everyday table, but if you want to get physics students interested in physics, its not a bad idea to do it through the deconstruction and creation of food especially when tasting the experiment is the end result.