An Evening of Modernist Cuisine
Myhrvold’s company, Intellectual Ventures, studies and experiments with food in their lab using various techniques to maximize flavor, such as sous vide, dehydrators, immersion circulators, even a centrifuge! In fact, on a recent episode of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Myhrvold was featured in his lab with his centrifuge, spinning green peas at 10,000 revolutions per minute to separate out the various layers. The top layer resulted in pea “juice”, a delicious light liquid described as “walking thru a cloud of peas”. The thin middle layer, which was thick, rich, and bright green, was described as the pea “butter” — the essence of the pea, rich and creamy, lovely piped onto bread or a crudite, with a very buttery texture. The bottom layer, which was the starch, was very bland and presumably discarded. Incredibly fascinating! Particularly when you think of all the applications with which you could utilize this technique.
Last Saturday, my husband and I were able to experience first hand how utterly original and revolutionary Myhrvold’s methods are. We settled in for a wild ride of curiosity, surprise, and joy, as we ventured into our 7-course meal consisting of seemingly normal dishes, prepared in a very abnormal way. Prepared by Chef Bilet and the disadvantaged-adults-turned-culinary-arts-students of FareStart in Seattle, we tried course after course of interesting foods, all highlighting the techniques and recipes from the six-volume book, “Modernist Cuisine”.
Some of the more notable bites were the deconstructed Mexican “elote”, which was quite spicy and marked by the freeze-dried corn kernels resting in a light, almost styrofoam-like bed of heat, and the Gruyère cheese puff, which consisted of a very thin outer crispy shell, filled with runny, warm Gruyère cheese sauce. Sublime! My husband made the mistake of biting into the puff, realizing too late that this one should be popped into your mouth whole. It was so unexpected and, yet, paired beautifully with the Maison Bleue Rousanne. And being a red meat and red wine girl, I coveted my Bunnell Mourvedre and pastrami course!
The complete menu, including wine pairings, is shared below. I hope you have the opportunity to experience this fascinating flavor-enhanced methodology soon. The complete six-volume, 2438-page “Modernist Cuisine”, is available on Amazon for $450.
freeze-dried corn, cilantro blossoms, brown butter
Wine: Maison Bleue Rousanne
gruyère custard, fluid gel
Taylor’s Shigokus, cryo-shucked, pear, argan oil, oyster leaf
winter vegetables, centrifuged green peas, ricotta, Meyer lemon
Wine: Pomum Tinto Tempranillo
pressure carmelized, carotene butter, coconut cream, chaat masala
marinara, corn juice, toasted corn oil
Wine: Domaine Serene 2007 Evanstad Pinot Noir
shiitake marmalade, low temperature steam, constructed stripes
Wine: Bunnell Family Mourvedre
Pastrami, Seattle Style
sweet onion sauerkraut, pickled mustard seeds, creamed spinach & barley
Ice Cream Sundae
pistachio, strawberry, macadamia
Wine: Chateau Saint Michelle Dry Riesling or
Lodmill Cellars “Red Sinister” Late Harvest Merlot
merula olive oil, vanilla, thyme