Hervé This

Creating a Meal Publication date : February 22, 2007

Creating an ideal menu comprising six recipes from France’s culinary heritage serves as a starting point for an examination of culinary techniques, tricks of the trade, and the rules of physics and chemistry that govern the transformation and cooking of some of the most common foods. What is it that distinguishes an ordinary hard-boiled egg from a perfect one? How can the bright green of French beans be preserved after cooking? When should salt be added to meat: before, during or after the cooking process?
With the help of science journalist Marie-Odile Monchicourt, Hervé This examines the various aspects of a meal and its preparation: observing, thinking, preparing the ingredients, satisfying the senses, and various aspects of culinary savoir-faire and taste. He also reflects on the future of our eating habits. There is enough material here to satiate the most demanding reader.
Hervé This demonstrates that the creation of a meal is a fulfilling, meaningful moment of our lives. We learn how preparing a meal and other apparently minor gestures of daily life can provide a new approach to science — these are the basics of molecular cuisine.

The recipes described here are the starting point for a series of scientific questions that will enable readers to apply what they have learned in their own culinary endeavours.
The author shows that cooking can be an intriguing field of experimentation that is both fun and easily accessible.
The growing interest in molecular cuisine can be seen in the work of several young chefs of the post-nouvelle cuisine current, whose leaders include Pierre Gagnaire and Ferran Adria.

Hervé This is a chemist working at the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), at Paris-Grignon, and at the Laboratory on the chemistry of molecular interaction at the Collège de France. He is the creator of “molecular cuisine” and the author of, most notably, La cuisine, c’est de l’amour, de l’art et de la technique, published in 2006.