Note by Note with Pierre Gagnaire

 

By LAWRENCE TAN

Not content with pushing the boundaries of molecular
gastronomy, French Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire may just have gone
over the edge by creating a dish that is entirely made up of pure compounds – a
new style he calls “culinary constructivism”.

Created in partnership with French chemist and long-time
friend Hervé This, the dish named ‘Note à Note’ consists of jelly-like ‘pearls’
that look like sago pearls and taste like apples, served with an iced granité
with a lemon-like taste, with a wafer-thin ‘caramel’ crisp in between. Except, of course, that no apples, lemons or caramel were
ever used to create the dish.

Instead, the pearls were made by isolating key
chemical compounds such as ascorbic acid, glucose, citric acid and a chemical
called maltitol, and then combining it together one compound at a time – a
process that sounds more like a lab procedure, than a kitchen creation.

It took six months for This and Gagnaire to create the
11-course menu, of which ‘Note à Note’ is the only dish that is entirely made
“compound by compound”. The menu will be available exclusively at Pierre at the
Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong.

 

Pierre, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

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