Herve This is a leading French physical chemist and the ‘Godfather’ of Molecular Gastronomy. He is also the man behind the development of ‘Note by Note’ cooking which involves preparing dishes using pure compounds, or more practically; mixtures of compounds obtained by fractioning plant or animal tissues, instead of using these tissues themselves. The following passage is from an article written by This for the Flavour Journal entitled “Molecular Gastronomy is a Scientific Discipline and Note by Note Cuisine is the Next Culinary Trend”

Note by note cuisine was first proposed in 1994 (in the magazine Scientific American) at a time when I started using compounds in drinks and dishes, such as paraethylphenol in wines and whiskeys; 1-octen-3-ol in sauces for meat; limonene; tartaric acid; and ascorbic acid among others. The initial proposal was to improve food, but surely an obvious next step was to make dishes entirely from compounds.

To put it differently, note by note cuisine does not use meat, fish, vegetable or fruits to make dishes, but instead uses compounds, either pure compounds or mixtures. An analogy would be in the way that electronic music is not made using trumpets or violins, but using pure waves that are mixed in to sounds and music. For the various parts of the dish in note by note cuisine, the cook has to design the shapes, the colors, the tastes, the odors, the temperatures, the trigeminal stimulation, the textures, the nutritional aspects and more. 

The feasibility of this new cuisine has already been shown. On 24 April 2009, the French chef Pierre Gagnaire (who has restaurants in a dozen cities of the world: Paris, London, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Dubai, Hong Kong…) showed the first note by note dish to the international press in Hong Kong. Then, in May 2010, two note by note dishes were shown by the Alsatian chefs Hubert Maetz and Aline Kuentz at the French-Japanese Scientific Meeting in StrasbourgHowever the first note by note meal was not served until October 2010, by chefs of the Cordon Bleu School in Paris, to the participants of the 2010 courses at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Gastronomy. On 26 January 2011, at a banquet before the launching event of the International Year of Chemistry at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Paris, a whole note by note meal for about 150 people was served by Potel et Chabot Catering Company. This meal was again served in April 2011 to about 500 chefs receiving Michelin stars in Paris. And since the number of note by note initiatives is becoming too big to be tracked.

Read the full article by Herve This on the Flavour Journal Website


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