For the past year, I’ve been meeting with Jethro Odom and Eric Rivera several times a month to challenge ourselves to learn modernist cooking. We call ourselves Jet City Gastrophysics, a name that we use with a healthy dose of levity. Part of our mission has been to learn a new set of fundamentals – working with hydrocolloids and emulsifiers, cooking sous vide, using a centrifuge, spherification, using liquid nitrogen and dry ice, experimenting with transglutaminase (meat glue), making powders and mastering dehydration, pressure cooking, and a whole lot of deep frying. These techniques are being employed by a small but growing handful of chefs worldwide, but by very few restaurants locally.
For the past 5 months, our goal has been to craft a menu that lets us showcase what we’ve learned, and present a dining experience that is unique and distinct from anything you’ll find elsewhere. We’ve named this project our “Thesis Dinner”. Earlier this year, we got the official word that we would have the opportunity to host some very special guests in April (but more on that later). With an applewood fire lit under our asses, we presented the first run through of our menu this week to a small group of guinea pigs, none of whom experienced any form of foodborne illness (or vertigo). Below is a small glimpse at a few of the dishes we’ve been working on, with much more to come in the next few months.
Above: Shrimp Cocktail. Restructured shrimp on a sesame tuille with clementine, chili oil and grapefruit zest. Underneath is cocktail sauce for sous vide shrimp.
Fried Egg. Sous vide egg yolk on a cilantro stem nest. Hollandaise, Sriracha salt.
Duck prosciutto (care of Eric Rivera). Olive oil and edible flowers.
Take out Pho with Playful Accompaniments (not shown).
Sweet Sushi: lima bean gel, coconut rice, nori.