Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hydrocolloids with Dave Arnold

During my final weeks as a student, I had the opportunity to work with Dave Arnold (Director of Technology) in assisting him with the hydrocolloids class taught at The FCI. I had been interning with Dave for several months up to this point. In the class, we used a variety of ingredients, including gelatin, carrageenan, agar-agar, methocel, and xanthan gum, to change the texture and consistency of various foods.

By the second day, everyone was engaged in the kitchen magic we were creating. We carried on conversations about who manufactured the best agar-agar and xanthan gum on the market. And we made maple syrup caviar, which we stirred into pancakes before toasting them on a griddle and serving them to the attendees for breakfast. This is how we started the day, surrounded by magic potions and liquid nitrogen. Then, we finished with a gin cocktail. The glasses were chilled with the N2O and garnished with bits of grapefruit that we'd freeze-dried. The cocktails were mixed with clarified lime juice, and all the ingredients were made fresh to order minutes before the live demo, so we could toast the finale of the two-day class. Attendees included Harold McGee, Chef Wanda, current and former technology interns, professional chefs and cooks—some traveled internationally to attend. —Rina Oh

Some pictures from the class:

step one: separating the segments and peel of the grapefruit we used for the cocktails

Step two, candied grapefruit peel used as a garnish for the cocktail

step three: grapefruit pulp out of the blast freezer

Rina Oh is an evening student in the classic culinary arts program and is a contributing writer on Eat Life FCI, The Hot Plate and Food2. When she's not working as a food writer or stylist, she continues developing content for her gossip blog, dining with outlaws, and illustrating a comic book series called The Gastronomic Chronicles.

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