The menu for a special dinner being presented by White Wolf Cafe Friday evening might need a little explaining. Some of the ingredients listed include air, clouds, dust and dirt. Truffled dirt, to be exact.
They’re some of the ingredients that chef Jason Schofield has planned for an evening of molecular gastronomy and sous vide cooking to be presented Friday, May 27, 2011, in the White Wolf’s Harrison Graham dining space.
What is molecular gastronomy? At its simplest it is the incorporation of chemistry and physics into the preparation of food. That’s certainly nothing new; those principles have been applied for eons — just consider the transformation of egg yolks and oil into a semi-solid mayonnaise, for example.
But newer techniques go way beyond simple emulsification. Chefs might incorporate liquid nitrogen, dehydrators or even carbon dioxide to create new forms of familiar flavors.
“Basically the best way of describing it is using science to create new textures of foods you already know,” explains Schofield. He used the example of taking peanut butter and turning it into a powder, which could then be used to “dust” a dessert. The powdered peanut butter, once on the tongue, would have the exact same flavor components as the stuff that sticks to the roof of your mouth, but which wouldn’t.
Or maybe a different version of a Caesar salad that would still be based with romaine lettuce but might include anchovies that have been turned into a foam.
The other technique for Friday’s dinner is sous vide, which is no longer as rare as it was a few years ago. Sous vide, which translates from the French for under vacuum, involves cooking foods in airtight plastic bags over a long period of time — sometimes days — which allows for more even cooking and tender results.
You can experience all of these techniques for yourself at Friday’s dinner, “A Night of Gastonomique Proportons.” The four-course dinner is $45 per person and begins at 7 p.m. Harrison Graham’s private dining room just a couple of doors north of White Wolf Cafe, 1829 N. Orange Ave., Orlando. For reservations, call Michael at 321-439-8422.
See the menu below: