^
Keep New Times Free
4

A Peek Into The Momofuku Kitchen Laboratory

Reuter's has an interesting video that gives viewers a look into the world of Momofuku's kitchen test lab, where chefs and microbiologists team up to create novel tastes and textures using humble common bacteria in interesting ways. Momofuku's chef David Chang is pretty adamant about his desire to use scientific methods to dissect classic fermented dishes like kimchi and use that knowledge to create new eating experiences.

See Also: -Watch This: David Chang and Anthony Bourdain's New Show 'Mind of A Chef' -Get a Harvard Cooking Education For Free

He has given several lectures on the topic, discussing at great length how cooks have relied upon the natural process of fermentation to bring richer flavors, umami, to foods. Beyond the obvious fermented products like kimchi and yogurt he points out that the process of dry aging beef relies on very similar techniques.

So what's so important about fermentation? Well first it's important to point out that fermentation is basically food going "bad" in a very controlled manner. It's the difference between delicious yogurt and the rancid milk in the back of the fridge. They both can start from the same milk but yogurt is milk that has been placed into an environment that only lets delicious yogurt making bacteria flourish while suppressing all the less tasty bacteria. It's the difference between a beautiful well-tended garden and that patch on your property that the city keeps asking you to burn.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

That's where all the science and the Harvard microbiologist come in. Chang is basically trying to grow gardens of deliciously productive bacteria. Since you obviously can't go after unwanted bacteria with a pruning saw, Chang hired a microbiologist to help him tend his bacterial garden. This is an exciting process because it could give chefs an incredible amount of control over exactly how their food tastes after fermentation. The complex tastes of cheese for instance are created by lactobacillus. As you can see from the Wikipedia entry, there are actually over 180 different types of lactobacillus, with only a few that actually are helpful in the creation of food. Cheese makers know this and have been isolating them for decades but the idea of doing this for all foods, that's what is novel and exciting.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.