at The French Culinary. And while I understand the principles and some of the techniques used, I still do not fully practice many of them. However, I am fascinated by it and am always eager to learn about new methods and ingredients. There are several high profile chefs out there constantly pushing the envelope and creating new trends. Obviously there are the Spanish godfathers like Ferr Adría, Juan Marí Arzak, and Martin Berasategí. Here in the states, chefs like Grant Achatz, Wylie Dufresne, Homaro Cantu, and Jose Andres are leading our culinary revolution. Recently, the FCI hosted 10 Spanish chefs, including the three listed above, for a weekend conference that included demonstrations, tastings, and workshops for industry professionals and the public. It was a tremendous weekend and I feel so fortunate to have been able to work with all of them and learn from them firsthand, not just from their books.
It's mindblowing to go out drinking with these guys, and also with other industry greats like Harold McGee, Sam Mason and Johnny Iuzzini. Marcel was there on Saturday when the event was open to the public, having paid an astronomical amount of money to come and watch the Spanish chefs. Point being that I believe Marcel truly has an interest in molecular gastronomy. Is he a master of it? Not even close. However his insight and interest are feeding his ego on the show, because none of the other contestants are using these techniques.
I was slightly surprised that so many of the contestants had never made ice cream before. It can be a tricky process, and your ice cream base ideally should be balanced with the right amounts of fat and sugar content to result in a good texture once frozen. Now, I don't eat ice cream often, but when I do it has to be great -- meaning texture, flavor, and temperature all have to be on point. I'm a fan of new and innovative flavors, and I absolutely love ice creams that incorporate savory ingredients. However, the contestants need to realize whom they are serving. When Padma tells them they will be at Redondo Beach serving their product, common sense will tell you it won't be a bunch of four-star diners looking for avant-garde flavors. This fact, though, should in no way limit their ability to be creative.