Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cutting edge or traditional? Why not both?

Chef Jose Andres was on 60 Minutes this past weekend. He's doing some amazing things in the kitchen with this molecular gastronomy thing. Some of it is pure chemistry, such as the gin and tonic that has separate spheres of membrane-enclosed liquid. Some of it is just a little odd, like cooking a two-pound fish in a crust of a full pound of sea salt.

60 Minutes with Chef Jose Andres

It would be easy to dismiss Chef Andres as just a stuntman, a performer with a shtick, if the only thing you need about him was his love of chemistry. But the same guy who is creating visual feasts that make you go "hmmmm" has been working with the D.C. Central Kitchen for the past two decades, making simpler dishes that make you go "mmmmm." He volunteers in the kitchen, he helps prepare 4,000 meals a day, and maybe most importantly, he has hired the graduates of their cooking school and has helped them start their own careers.

Participating in the NPR "How Low Can You Go?" challenge, I thought his Moorish stew was the best of the entrees by a long shot. With the task of making a dinner for four for under $10, he provided an old family recipe that can be whipped up in about 20 minutes.

It's easy to see why the press is all a-ga-ga over his culinary chemistry set wonders, but I'd love to see a feature about his roots, and about the traditional cooking that still inspires him.


tasteofbeirut said...

I am fascinated with this molecular or whatever new wave of chefs and I am planning to go to France or Spain and take a class at some point! Fascinating to me how cooking has evolved through the years, and intrigued by what is coming next. Thanks for posting this and the recipe!

Foodycat said...

I'm a traditionalist! I am impressed by the techniques of molecular gastronomy, but it doesn't make me want to eat it! I thought the fish baked in salt was a very old-fashioned thing though.