La cuisine note à note
Note by note cooking
Until the twentieth century, musicians only had brasses, woodwinds and strings to compose masterpieces. Nevertheless, they still were not able to create the music they had in mind and therefore, they tried to answer fundamental questions: How is sound created? What is it made of? Scientific work, especially Fourier’s had paved the way for an answer: sound, or sound waves are made of several sinusoidal waves, characterized by a frequency and an amplitude.
Keeping what they had learned in mind, they started to create sound out of nothing simply by adding pure sinusoidal waves. Thus was born the synthesizer, with which it is now possible to produce any sound, whether it is the sound of an acoustic instrument or a completely new sound. However it is noteworthy that electronic music did not replace traditional music, but simply expanded its universe.
What are we eating today? What is food made of?
The reason of this parallel with music is simply : the cuisine of tomorrow is inspired by the music of yesterday in order to reinvent itself. The fundamental question to answer is the following : What are we eating today? Meat, fruits, vegetables, starches? But what is this food made of? What is the difference between lamb and beef? What happens during the cooking?
The work of the scientific Hervé This, aims at answering all those questions. Let us take an example : the cherry.
- The cherry has a consistency directly linked with pectin and cellulose which form a network where water is imprisoned, creating the pulp.
- The cherry has a smell, due to the joining of hundreds of odorant compounds. Those compounds have a major role, since the smell takes part to the taste. In fact, when they arrive in the mouth, they are vaporized and sent into our nasal cavity by the respiration. Our brain interprets this nasal stimulus as part of the taste.
- The cherry has a colour, which can be explained by anthocyanins and beta-carotene.
- Finally the cherry has a taste, which can be defined as everything captured by the taste buds of the tongue: sweet, acids, bitter, salted, and also spicy and fresh tastes which are called trigeminal sensations.
It has now become clear that something as simple as a cherry can be amazingly complex. Each compound that forms the cherry has a distinct role whether it is for the smell, the texture, the taste or the colour.
Nevertheless those compounds are not only present in the cherry but also in a multitude of food products, in different proportions.
For instance, the compound, called Amerise, is shared with the cherry, the almond, scallops, strawberry… Simply put, as there exists primary colours or music notes common to every instruments, there exists a common base of compounds found in each product. Meats, fruits and vegetables are schemes of compounds taken from the common base.
Oenology also epitomizes that base, since wine tasting reveals notes of red fruits, notes of banana and notes leather. These notes were not added to the wine, it is only the process of vinification that produce compounds found in those fruits.
In the future, we won’t cook with vegetables nor anything like that
This common base of compounds enables us to understand how food works. Until now, we only used ingredients which are a predefined sums of hundreds of compounds. In the future, we won’t cook with vegetables nor anything like that. We will cook with compounds and this cuisine is called note by note.
This progressist cuisine is inspired by the works of the greatest chefs which have already started to cook note by note. Taking advantage of the secret ideas of Hervé This, Pierre Gagnaire was the first to create a note by note dish in 2009. Today, the restaurant Senses in Warsaw, directed by the Italian Chef Andrea Camastra is the first restaurant entirely devoted to note by note cuisine.
Those chefs are not willing to recreate tastes already present in nature. There is no artistic purpose in the reproduction of a steak or a fruit, simply because they have access to the best producers in the world. However, it is in their own interest to cook note by note since it gives them the possibility to create new tastes and textures, that they would be the only ones to offer to their clients. Note by note cuisine is a completely new universe entirely devoted to art, where everything is yet to create.