Prabhakar Sastri

Obtaining a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Chemistry followed by an MS and a PhD in Engineering from Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, Dr Sastri has been an entrepreneur for more than 25 years.

 

Dr Sastri moved to Manipal 9 years ago and one of his passions is teaching this course at the Department of Culinary Arts, Welcome Group School of Hotel Administration in Manipal.

Molecular Gastronomy: Intro to Culinary Science

I think it is a sad reflection on our civilisation that while we can and do measure the temperature in the atmosphere of Venus, we do not know what goes on inside our souffles.

as quoted by George Porter in the preface of But the Crackling is Superb, An Anthology on Food and Drink by Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society. Institute of Physics Publishing, London, UK. 1988.

On 14 March 1969, Nicholas Kurti, the physicist who, with Franz Simon, was the first to cool an object to 1 microkelvin, presented a paper at the Royal Society of London entitled "The Physicist in the Kitchen." He didn't just talk before his august audience. Using a tuned microwave generator he created a reverse Baked Alaska, a dessert that was hot on the inside, cold on the outside.

Kurti was a keen amateur cook. With the chemist Hervé This, he founded the science of molecular and physical gastronomy or, as it's more widely known, molecular gastronomy. They outlined the foundations and aims of the science in an article they wrote in 1994 for Scientific American.

Tpday, molecular gastronomy is big —at least for the famous and creative cooks who practice it. At Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant in Bray outside London, you can enjoy nitro-poached green-tea and lime mousse, powdered Anjou pigeon, whisky wine gums, and other exotic concoctions.

The Fat Duck takes reservations up to two months in advance. If you want to eat next year at the temple of molecular gastronomy, Ferran Adrià's El Bulli in Catalonia, you need to apply on 21 December and hope that your application will be among the 8000 accepted, not the 2 million rejected.

The course emphasizes the role of sciences in cooking and how the world over, it has started to make a difference if the chefs understand the science that goes into it.