Cooking Art vs. Science Competition (02:11)
Michelin starred Chef Marcus Wareing and materials scientist Mark Miodownik will cook the same dishes using different methods.
Competition Menu (01:46)
Wareing has 30 years of professional chef experience; Miodownik's materials science background may provide new insight to flavors. They must prepare tomato soup, steak with mashed potato, and chocolate fondant. Wareing will judge which method produces the best result.
Tomato Soup: Traditional Cooking Method (02:24)
Flavor is diluted in tomatoes; the challenge is to extract maximum flavor. Wareing sautés and then roasts his tomatoes to evaporate excess water. Miodownik explains why cooking destroys some of the flavor.
Tomato Soup: Scientific Cooking Method (03:46)
Miodownik blends tomatoes to release glutamic acid and uses a centrifuge to separate the liquid from pulp. It results in a clear liquid.
Search for Tomato Flavor (03:29)
Miodownik discards tomato pulp and retains clear liquid with glutamic acid. Wareing says it is too bland, and lacks a chef's passion. Miodownik boils it to reduce the water and adds vegetables.
Tomato Soup Results (02:02)
Wareing finds his traditional version better tasting, but is intrigued by Miodownik's scientifically produced version.
Steak: Traditional Cooking Method (04:12)
Competitors must perfect a medium rare stake. Wareing uses a simple pan searing method and listens for the right temperature, adding herbs for flavor and finishing with butter. Learn about the Maillard reaction producing the outer crust.
Steak: Scientific Cooking Method (05:00)
Miodownik vacuum packs a steak to seal in the juices and places it in a water bath at 55 degrees. He puts it into liquid nitrogen to create a frozen protective layer, and then deep fat fries it to create an outer crust.
Steak Results (02:50)
Wareing approves of Miodownik's scientifically cooked steak in terms of color and crust, but prefers his traditionally cooked steak for flavor.
Mashed Potato: Scientific Cooking Method (03:07)
Miodownik plans to mash potatoes by breaking starches down at a molecular level. He mixes diastatic malt powder with the potato and cooks it in a water bath at 52 degrees.
Mashed Potato: Traditional Cooking Method (03:02)
Wareing pushes cooked potato through a sieve and adds butter and cream to achieve a velvety texture. Miodownik removes his potato from a water bath and deactivates an enzyme breaking the starch molecules.
Mashed Potato Results (03:26)
Miodownik's process of breaking down potato starch into glucose leaves his scientifically cooked version too sweet. Wareing's traditional version with cream and butter wins.
Chocolate Fondant: Traditional Cooking Method (03:32)
The sponge cake must be light, but strong enough to contain a dense, liquid center. Wareing recruits Chantelle Nicholson, who beats egg whites and folds them into melted chocolate and butter. She pours the batter into molds and adds frozen chocolate centers before baking.
Chocolate Fondant: Scientific Method (02:57)
Miodownik uses a commercial cake mix for the sponge. He uses nitrous oxide in a whipping siphon to aerate the batter and bakes it in a microwave, in paper cups.
Chocolate Fondant Results (03:01)
Three of Chantelle's traditionally baked fondants fail to hold their liquid centers; the fourth succeeds. Miodownik's scientifically baked version is too airy to hold its liquid center but reminds Wareing of his childhood. Wareing calls it a draw.
Cooking Art vs. Science Conclusion (02:10)
Miodownik brews a cup of tea for Wareing using lab equipment. Wareing is impressed by Miodownik's scientifically cooked steak, and Miodownik admits Wareing's professional experience is unbeatable. Miodownik argues that Wareing is also a scientist in the kitchen.
Credits: Chef vs Science: The Ultimate Kitchen Challenge (00:44)
Credits: Chef vs Science: The Ultimate Kitchen Challenge
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