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. He has consulted for large FMCG companies like ITC and Unilever. Optimizing the cookie making process at ITC, led to his interest in the 'Science of Cooking'.
Dr Sastri moved to Manipal 9 years ago and one of his passions is teaching the 'Science of Cooking' course to chefs and trainee chefs 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.
George Porter (Nobel Laureate, Chemistry, 1967)
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.
Today, 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. The serious students of this course have gone to great heights and have travelled widely to Norway, Bangkok, UK and many other countries, using science to understand different cuisines of the world.
The aim of this course is to give hands on experience to the students of the latest trends in the culinary world. Starting with the basics, experienced chefs will take the students through the journey into the modern trends in the area.
The sessions will include ingredients, methods of cooking, factors affecting the cooking process and the science behind all this.
The experience will be unique as the journey will give them a flavour of what goes into making food the way it is made and the extraordinary impact science has had on understanding not just the how of a recipe but the why of a recipe.
So hop on and learn to make those finger licking dishes and learn to give a great experience using the latest techniques and ingredients such as Dry Ice, Liquid Nitrogen, etc.