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Fibrous consistencies and acidities

The Fifth International Contest for Note by Note Cooking

Organizers :
Odile Renaudin (www.sciencesetgastronomie.com) , Yolanda Rigault (yolanda.rigault at wanadoo.fr), Hervé This (herve.this at paris.inra.fr)
Introduction : la « Cuisine Note à Note »

International Contest for Note by Note Cooking N°5
Fibrous consistencies and acidities
Note by Note Cooking is the culinary technique using compounds, in order to build food.
The cook has to decide for the shapes, consistencies, tastes, odours, trigeminal sensations (pungencies, freshnesses…), temperatures, colours… Of course, it deals with questions of nutrition, toxicity, and is part of the large « Note by Note Project » for sustainable development, important for feeding the humankind in 2050, when the population of the Earth will perhaps reach 10 billion people. This project is an important contribution to the fight agains spoilage, while sparing water, energy, foodstuffs, and taking care of the environment.


The goal of this contest 
 

Food are primarily gels, i.e. solid systems mainly made of a liquid (most often water). Depending on the different kind of gels, the liquid is forming a continuous phase trapped in a solid continuous solid network (gelatine gels, or it is dispersed in « cells », which can be almost spherical objects (plants) or elongated ccells, such in the muscular fibers of meat and fish.

We shall aim at such structures, for this 5th International Contest for Note by Note Cooking. Consider crab meat, or undercut, or thick flank !

More generally, animal tissues are bundles of muscular fibers, each fiber being like a hollow tube full of a liquid solution, which can be gelified. As a whole, meat is made of about 25 % proteins, and 75 % water.

There are many ways of making such fibers :
- for example, you can start from a block of hard cheese, and, using needles, you make a series of parallel hollow tubes that you fill with a liquid (with flavour, always with flavour!)
- or you use hollow noodles, you range them parallel and you fill them with a liquid
- or you make like for surimis, i.e. you scrap a dough make from water and proteins, before cooking
- or you disperse fibres (for example cellulose) in a solution, and you align them using a flow
- etc.

The goal is to get something with more structure than meringue, simple gels or biscuits, as was proposed for the 4th international contest for note by not cooking (the competitors did very well… but the goal is to go further).

Of course, the fibrous structures proposed for this 5th contest will have to have colour, odour, taste… In order to produce them, the competitors can use any ingredient at will, traditional or chemically pure, but the jury will rank first the dishes for which pure compounds are used.

In particular, the competitors are requested to use acids (ascorbic, tartaric, acetic, citric…) in their dishes

More generally, the proposed dishes will be appreciated according to their proximity to « pure note by note cooking ». Also the originality of the use of such compounds will be evaluated.

Each proposed dish will have to be :
1. described in a .doc file by a recipe (Roman 12) giving
1. the ingredients, including quantities
2. the process
2. shown by photographs.

The candidates will have to accept that their recipes and pictures can be used (with their name) by the organizers and the partners of the contest (see authorization of use in the bottom of this document).

More information

The 4th contest for note by note cooking proposed using cellulose and its derivatives. Most candidates used methylcellulose or carboxymethylcellulose, which are gel forming agents.
Cellulose was not used. This ccompound is present in all plant tissues, being an important component of the cell wall. It is a polysaccharide, i.e. a compound whose molecules are chains of elementary subunits, such here as glucose. In this regard, cellulose is a molecular coussin of amylyoses and amylopectins that make up starch… but it is much more robust : the best proof is that our clothes made of cotton (almost pure cellulose) don’t dissolvle in our washing machines, even when the water is very hot. Also cellulose is not digested (it can be fermented) : it makes up « food fibers ».
Where can it be found ? Cotton is almost pure cellulose, but be careful about gossypol, a toxic phenolics present in the seeds of certain coton trees. On the other hand, no problem for using it when you extract it from vegetables or from fruits : for example, when you centrifuge carotts, using a small kitchen centrifuge machine, the solid residue that you get is almost pure cellulose (you would have to wash it).
In order to see the effect of cellulose on the consistency of a food, you can make the experiment to compare a « dirac » that you obtain by cooking (in an ordinary pan, with a drop of oil) a mixture of 50 % coagulable proteins and 50 % water, and a dirac with cellulose added.
Finally derivatives of cellulose such as methylcellulose can be used. Sample will be given by Louis François Inc.
For recipe using cellulose, you can also have a look to http://www.pierre-gagnaire.com/#/pg/pierre_et_herve/travaux_precedents/9 (sorry, it’s in French… but Google translate).

Adding cellulose to a food preparation is a simple solution for making a fibrous structure, but making systems like surimis is anothe one. One can easily find online videos showing how to make such products, and it can be easily understood that any well designed dough can lead to such preparations.

The former international contests for note by note cooking showed that the inventivity of candidates is much higher than whant the organizers can dram of. And here, it can be remembered that food can be « built » at any scale, from molecular scale to macroscopic scale.


Evaluation :

Feasibility, reproductibility
Fibrous structures
Acidities
Originality of the work.
Using pure compounds will be preferred to using fractions.
Of course, the productions should not be toxic.
The flavour complexity will be appreciated : dishes have a shape, consistency, odor, taste, trigeminal sensation, temperature…

Who can participate?
The contest is free, open to all. But there will be different categories, such as : culinary professional, student, lay people.

How to participate?
For applying, it is enough to send an email with post address, phone number, signed authorization of diffusion of the contest material.

Then, for proposing the result, one has to send a file (fichier .doc) describing the recipe in details, with a powerpoint document (fichier .ppt) showing the various steps and the final result, with high resolution pictures 300 dpi.

Dates :
- application at any time before May 2017.
- document being sent before the 30th of April 2017

Prize Event:
AgroParisTech, Paris (date to be given)

Prizes will be given by the partners. The best results will be displayed on various internet sites (Scienceetgastronomie.com, Forum Note à Note d’AgroParisTech...). They will be shown on posters during itinerary exhibitions.

Autorisation de diffusion

Je sous-signé ……………….. demeurant ……………………….. autorise les organisateurs et les partenaires du Troisième Concours International de Cuisine Note à Note à diffuser les recettes et les images soumises pour participation au concours.

Fait à ………………………….. le …………………………………..

Signature :
Annex :

From Molecular Gastronomy to its applications : « Molecular Cuisine » (it is over) and « Note by Note Cuisine» (don’t miss this next world culinary trend!

Hervé This


1. The scientific work

In 1988 Nicholas Kurti and Hervé This created the scientific discipline that we called « Molecular gastronomy» (remember that the word « gastronomy » means « knowledge », and not cuisine, even haute cuisine ; in the same way, Molecular Gastronomy does not stand for cooking!).

The aim of Molecular Gastronomy was, is and will be forever : looking for the mechanisms of phenomena occcuring during dish preparation and consumption.

2. An application in the kitchen

In the beginning of the 80’s, we introduced also «Molecular Cuisine », whose definition is :

« Producing food (this is cuisine) using « new » tools, ingredients, methods ».

In this definition, the word « new » stands for what was not in kitchens of the western countries in 1980.

For example : siphon (to make foams), sodium alginate (to get pearls with a liquid core, spaghettis of vegetables, etc.) and other gelling agents (agar-agar, carraghenans, etc.), liquid nitrogen (to make sherbets and many other innovative preparations), rotary evaporator, and more generally, the whole set of lab’s equipment when they can be useful ; another of new « method », finally, the prepration of the Chocolate Chantilly, of beaumés, gibbs, nollet, vauquelins, etc. ( Cours de gastronomie moléculaire n°1 : Science, technologie, technique (culinaires) : quelles relations ?, Ed Quae/Belin)

Of course all these items are not completely new (many gelling agents are used in Asia for millenia, and many tools are used daily in chemistry labs), but the goal was to modernize the technical component of cuisine.

Yes, the expression « Molecular Cuisine » is poorly chosen, but it had to be introduced at some time... and it is not within the Encyclopedia Britannica Dictionnaly. And Molecular Cuisine will disappear... because of... see below !

3. The next culinary trend : Note by Note Cuisine !

The next proposal is much more exciting, and its name is NOTE BY NOTE CUISINE.
It was first proposed by Hervé This in 1994 (in the magazine Scientific American) at a time when I was playing at using compounds in food, such as paraethylphenol in wines and whiskeys, 1-octen-3-ol in dishes, limonene, tartaric acid, ascorbic acid, etc.

The initial proposal was to improve food... but the next idea was obvious, it is to make dishes entirely from compounds.

Let’s say it differently. Note by Note Cuisine is not using meat, fish, vegetable or fruits, but rater compounds, either pure compounds or mixtures, such as electronic music is not using trumpets or violins, but rather pure waves which are mixed in sounds and in music.

Here, for Note by Note Cuisine, the cook has to : :
– design the shapes of the various parts of the dish
– design the colors
– design the tastes
– design the odors
– design the temperatures
– design the trigeminal stimulation
– design the consistencies
– design the nutritional aspects
– etc.

The feasability of this new cuisine was already shown by many meals :
– first Note by Note meal (called Note by Note N°1) shown to the international press in Hong Kong by Pierre Gagnaire in April 2009
– two dishes shown at the French-Japanese Scientific Meeting (JSTS) in Strasbourg, in May 2010
– whole Note by Note Meal served by the chefs of the Cordon bleu School in Paris in October 2010
– Note à Note meal served the 26th of January 2011, as a launching event of the International Year of Chemistry, at UNESCO, Paris, by the team of Potel&Chabot
– Note by Note cocktail serve in April 2011 to 500 French chefs freshly starred at Michelin in Espace Cardin, Paris
– Note by Note Meal served in October 2011 by the team of the chefs of the Cordon bleu Schools Paris
– Note by Note dishes made by chefs of the Toques Blanches International Association, in Paris, 3 Decembre 2011

Many questions arise from this new cuisine:
– land development
– economy
– sensorial
– technique
– art
– politics
– nutrition
– toxicology
– etc.

But:
1. humankind is facing an energy crisis : it is not sure that traditional cuisine is sustainable (it is not!)
2. the New will always beat the Old
3. cracking products from agriculture and farming is already done for milk and wheat ; why not carrots, apples, etc. ?
4. The objections made to Note by Note cuisine were done half a century ago against
electronic music, and guess what you hear at the radio today ?
In other words, are not we at the equivalent of 1947, when musicians such as Varèse and some others were investigating electronic music ?

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