For some time now, chefs have been portrayed as artists, and I must admit that it’s a title that doesn’t quite fit as far as I’m concerned. Sure enough, to present your food or paint a picture on a plate, an artistic streak helps, but it won’t make you a better cook or turn you into a culinary genius. With a large amount of common sense and a little understanding of kitchen science, you’re more likely to succeed.
Chefs that have the ability to be totally unique and original, whilst maintaining some kind of understanding with flavours and textures, might attain cult status and something close to true artistry, but they never forget taste. Taste has nothing to do with art and everything to do with science.
What Einstein Told His Cook
Two of my favourite books are both about the science of food. I’ll never read them from cover-to-cover, but they are a great treasure trove of information on the history and science behind food, cooking techniques, ingredients, physiology and diet.
They have also given me a greater appreciation of what I'm doing in the kitchen. Does the alcohol really boil off when we cook with wine? Are smoked foods raw or cooked? Are green potatoes poisonous? Everything from milk, its components and why it curdles, to meat and how animals are slaughtered and why they are hung,