Hacking food

Feb. 1, 2010, 9:02 p.m. | by Adriano Petrich | Categories: experimental methods rant

Hacking food

Obsession and method

Feel free to skip this one: It is only a simple rant about how I think.

I am not a chef, I am a food hack.

Hacking food is pretty much like hacking everything else.

You try, fail and learn, then you try again, fail less (or more) and learn a lot more.

As long you are learning and taking risks you are doing the right thing, even if your results are pretty lame.

The way that I tend to obsess about one thing at a time is to do experiments.

Make a few batches of what you are trying to test, change the parameters as you see fit and analyze the results.

Yeah, science works.

Perspiration and Inspiration

As much as I hate Thomas Edison there is some truth to it, but lets quote Einstein instead:

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

By all means take risks, but do something that will teach you later.

The important rule is know what are you looking for.

Ask yourself some questions:

What do you want to accomplish?

What is a success?

Do you understand what made that happen?

Be organized

Be clear about your objectives, and organize about it.

Take notes. I mean it! How much salt did you use? When did you add the salt?

Some simple things can have great consequences: in stocks I like to add some salt before I start to boil1; Beans you do not add salt before they are almost ready2

It is not a good result if you cannot reproduce it.

1I think it improves the overall flavor

2If you salt them early they will take forever to get tender.

Always take it to the edge

It might be silly, but when I am testing I like to go all the way with plating and presentation.

It is an extra chance to test ideas, a lovely dish has to come in a lovely presentation.

Once you’ve got a great result it is time to practice.

I only feel confident about a dish after I’ve made it successfully at least 3 times.

Happy hacking


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