Top chef pours cold water on 'chemical' cuisine

7th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) - Veteran chef Fredy Girardet, ranked one of the masters of 20th century French cuisine, launched a sizzling attack on the avant-garde techniques known as "molecular gastronomy", in an interview published Thursday.

PARIS, Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) - Veteran chef Fredy Girardet, ranked one of the masters of 20th century French cuisine, launched a sizzling attack on the avant-garde techniques known as "molecular gastronomy", in an interview published Thursday.

Some chefs "believe modernity is about turning their kitchen into a laboratory," the 70-year-old Swiss, who retired in 1996 after inspiring a generation of chefs around the world, told Le Monde newspaper.

"They have no qualms about using synthetic products -- additives, colourings, flavour enhancers -- indiscriminately," said the chef, whose restaurant Crissier near Lake Geneva was awarded three coveted Michelin stars.

"With some the produce itself disappears, pummelled, destructured, aromatised and recomposed in another form," he charged, saying the refusal to use food additives should be "an ethical issue".

Since the late 1990s, young chefs such as Spain's Ferran Adria and Britain's Heston Blumenthal have rocked the boat of world cuisine by using science to "deconstruct" and rebuild food, both bluffing diners and delighting reviewers.

In a slap in the face to traditionalists, Adria's three Michelin-starred restaurant El Bulli on Spain's northern Catalan coast was voted the world's best by Restaurant magazine in 2006 and 2007.

Taste-bud treats on the Catalan's menu have included oyster meringue, hot ice cream, frothy truffle cappuccino and iced polenta with parmesan custard, while vegetables are turned into lollipops or whipped foams.

Adria's post-modern contribution to cuisine has been compared to the way fellow Catalan Pablo Picasso deconstructed art.

But Girardet told Le Monde: "We need to finish with these mish-mashed, sweet-tasting avant-garde dishes... where nothing is identifiable, neither texture, nor freshness, nor the original taste of the product."

For the Swiss, the danger is not to see individual chefs, "some hugely talented", to head down this road, "but for young chefs, unsure which path to take, to take this as their model."

AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article