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Rocket Science

Cat Cora thinks some of the chefs went too far in the spirit of "innovation."

By Cat Cora

Until now, most of our chefs' challenges were to master the traditional cuisines of various cities and countries. This week was different. Although their dishes had to be recognizably Chinese, the challenge was to be innovative. But, as one of the diners in Hong Kong said, "The most innovative dish doesn't mean it's the best dish." Some chefs go too far in their pursuit of innovation. As the Demon Chef says in this episode, "It's about taste as well as innovation." I do all my experimenting at home, but this week the contestants were forced to create a recipe and execute all in the same day. The results were predictable -- and mostly dismal. It just goes to show that it takes a lot of trial and error to perfect a recipe. And that takes time.

John and Avery mentioned molecular gastronomy, which sounds like a kind of astrophysics. They're referring to a branch of food science that studies the effect of chemical processes on various kinds of food. Unfortunately, it can lead to gimmicky dishes like John's Scallop Wonton with Lime "Snow." It's all very fine to use liquid nitrogen to freeze your ingredients but don't serve it on a warm plate. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

We're down to four finalists. Feel the suspense building? Stay with us. It gets more interesting.



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