Ready to get seriously nerdy about cooking? Harvard's Science & Cooking lecture started a couple of weeks ago, but the videos of the first two lectures have just popped up on YouTube. The first lecture starts off with a good half-hour of introductory remarks and covers the syllabus (including the lab work the students are required to do).
After that, there's a half-hour talk that covers a history of what one might call "creative food science" from food writer Harold McGee, and over an hour on creativity, science, and molecular gastronomy (not that they would call it that) from elBulli's Ferran Adrià and his protege, chef José Andrés.
Actually, the question of who trained whom is apparently up for debate. For Adrià — who was famously inspired by French chef Jacques Maximin's declaration that "Creativity means not copying" — life appears to be a constant learning process. In fact, he announces at one point (translated by Andrés, hence his first person):
Have you seen Ratatouille? Remy the rat and Linguine the cook, Ferran Adria and I are kind of the same...The question is who is rat and who is the other. At the end of this class, we shall see.
Adrià goes over the current status of the elBulli "transformation," saying the paying restaurant will close on July 31 of next year. He will then start developing it as "a center for creativity" which will post its findings on a website every day. He says that a functioning restaurant doesn't have a budget to develop creativity, and that he wants the elBulli Creativity Center to be a resource for other chefs.
Significantly more pontificating on the nature of science, cooking, and creativity follows.
Science and Cooking: A Dialogue | Lecture 1
Sous-vide Cooking: a State of Matter | Lecture 2
The second video covers the scientific theory behind sous-vide cooking, and features Spanish chef Joan Roca.
· Science and Cooking: A Dialogue | Lecture 1 [YouTube]
· Sous-vide Cooking: a State of Matter | Lecture 2 [YouTube]
· At Harvard, the Kitchen as Lab [NYT]
· All Ferran Adria Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Jose Andres Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Harold McGee Coverage on Eater [-E-]