Michelin-star chef Jeff Ramsey takes diners on a molecular gastronomy adventure

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CASBAH,
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur,
Kuala Lumpur City Centre.
Tel: 03-2380 8888
Business hours: 6pm to 3am (Wed–Sat).

Molecular gastronomy demo takes diners on a unique adventure.

Michelin-star chef Jeff Ramsey is usually described as fun, adventurous and cheeky.

However, he takes the field of molecular gastronomy — which combines both physics and chemistry in the preparation of food — seriously.

Malaysian diners recently had the privilege of tasting the culinary creations of this chef, who is known for his sushi dishes.

Michelin star chef Jeff Ramsey carefully preparing one of the dishes to be served to customers at Casbah, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.
Michelin star chef Jeff Ramsey carefully preparing one of the dishes to be served to customers at Casbah, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.
Ramsey made a special appearance at Casbah, Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur to serve up a 20-course tapas menu, which included food that was seared with blowtorches, dipped, laced and cooked in liquid nitrogen and various other ingenious combinations.

 

Molecular gastronomy first gained popularity in the 1990s, thanks to chefs like Ferran Adria of El Bulli fame and Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck in England.

Molecular gastronomy pays particular attention to the conditions that underpin an individual’s enjoyment of food, including flavour levels in a food dish and even a diner’s “frame of mind”.

Before our dining adventure, Ramsey briefly introduced the dishes to be served that night and also issued a warning.

“A gentle reminder to everyone, do not start your meal until you have been given the green light as it could be ‘problematic’,” said Ramsey, which led to some puzzled looks.

However, his advice soon became clear as his unique creations were laid out, with some looking like they belonged in a sci-fi movie.

Chef Jeff Ramsey addiing tempura flakes bathed in liquid nitrogen on a dish aptly called -196 Tempura.
Chef Jeff Ramsey addiing tempura flakes bathed in liquid nitrogen on a dish aptly called -196 Tempura.

One dish that stood out was something that looked like golden baby carrot sprinkled with edible gold flakes. On slicing it, the texture was squishy instead of crunchy.

At this point, Ramsey announced that it was Rabbit Meat Rillettes (a French dish prepared ala pate style).

I also really liked Mushroom and The Earth dish — so named after the vegetation that grows after an area is ravaged by bush fires. The dish comprised white asparagus, shiitake soil and embers, and a green paste to create the illusion of grass.

For Japanese manga fans, the next dish was pure genius as it was a “feast for the eyes”. Deep-fried soft shell crab was sliced into two and separated by silkscreen artwork made with black mayonnaise. The artwork showed Japanese characters which had a slashing sound effect.

A blow torch is among the various tools of the trade for molecular gastronomy.
A blow torch is among the various tools of the trade for molecular gastronomy.

The Roast Lamb, Very Juicy dish came with a word of caution from Ramsey who warned us that the middle of the lamb cutlet was filled with juicy meat that was hot and could squirt out if not consumed in one bite.

He explained that the lamb was sliced open and the meat jelly was placed inside before being rejoined with meat glue. Once the lamb is roasted, the jelly inside melts.

Dessert induced a lot of laughter — Puffing Passion DIY (Do It Yourself) tobacco-free smoke. A piece of passion fruit meringue is stabbed with tiny holes and doused in liquid nitrogen to freeze it. Once it is taken out from the liquid bath, it is savoured with our mouths closed. Seconds later, we exhaled out from our nose only to be engulfed in thick white smoke.

The dining experience gave new meaning to the phrase, culinary adventure!

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.


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