It’s always a great day in cooking club when John Placko comes to visit and work with us! This week we were so lucky to welcome Chef John of Modern Culinary Academy and Powder for Texture back to the lab for a little dabble in the molecular cuisine side of cooking. John has worked with the boys a number of times before – they’ve made melon caviar, yoghurt sheets, carbonated strawberries, cranberry snow and chocolate micro sponge, they have sous vide-ed and caramelized bananas with coconut gel and snow (with bonus blow torch action!), they’ve made “rhubarb in textures” and carbonated fruit, cranberry foam, ice cream, ice cream pearls, raspberry niblets topped with pop rocks, cranberry meringues and edible gold (!), sushi with ginger caviar and last time he came, John made gingerbread micro sponge with candy cane ice cream and raspberry niblets…
As you can see, John is quite the ambitious chef when he comes to work with the boys – his sessions are never dull! This week, we worked in four groups to produce four different items, so the boys were busy!
First up, we made panna cotta (using a mix with a vegetarian stabiliser – Carrageenan)
A passionfruit “fluid gel’ – not quite jelly and not quite liquid, it’s perfect for pretty plating!
The gelling agent is “ultrasperse” – made from Tapioca, it’s a fine white powder used as a thickening agent that is a natural, cold water swelling starch. Magical!
Next up, meringue (no eggs – we used Versawhip which provides twice the aerating capability vs egg whites!). Doesn’t look like much at first – we used only one cup of liquid…
Next up, liquid nitrogen ice cream pearls…
Then we got to plate – and eat!
“Is cooking club always this great?” wondered one new addition to the club as he left the lab? Actually, yes, with so many wonderfully generous chefs and food enthusiasts in Toronto who want to work with the boys – John is a perfect example of someone who is SO busy but who always makes time for us. We SO appreciate your generosity, John.
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