March 20, 2008

On Thursday, March 20, 2008, the Experimental Cuisine Collective welcomed Dan Barber, who talked about the connections between farming and technology.


Audio files of the workshop are available via FTP.


A pre-workshop description in his own words follows.


***** From Dan Barber*****

Last January, famed Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, who has won the adulation of food critics and chefs around the world by using science and technology to create unexpected textures and flavors, said something extraordinary to the 1,200 or so attendees of his talk at the Madrid Fusión culinary conference. "Is it possible," he asked a hushed crowd as he held a tomato up to the light, "that in our quest to make the most perfect gelée, we've overlooked the most perfect gelée?" He sliced open the tomato and removed a section of seeds encased in their natural gelatin. "Perhaps we've come at this from the wrong end," he said. "Maybe we should have started with nature."


Maybe indeed. The most forward-thinking farmers these days are already applying the same experimentation to the field that chefs like Adrià are applying to the plate. Molecular gastronomy meets molecular agronomy? Yes, but with a twist. From a humane foie gras producer in Spain, to a duck and rice farmer in Japan, to a pasture-based dairy operation in Massachusetts, these farmers are respecting the tenets of sustainable agriculture while using the latest technology to create better-tasting food.


Chefs have long had relationships with farmers—the ones they name on their menus, showing their support of local, sustainable agriculture. It won't be long before these names are joined by a new breed of agri-innovators, the Ferran Adriàs of the farm. Good ecology, and great flavor, all in one bite. What could be more exciting—or delicious—than that?

**** **** **** **** ****


Dan Barber