TechKnow: Tell us about your most recent story for the show.
Marita Davison: The story is about how laboratory techniques and instruments are being used to create new ingredients and delicious dishes in the kitchen. We followed chemist Kent Kirshenbaum and Chef Dave Arnold throughout the day and really captured their interesting and somewhat wacky collaboration. We also got to see a finished product at a high end restaurant in LA.
TK: What surprised you the most?
MD: A lot of these techniques and the instruments being used are not new in any way. They've been developed and used for sometimes centuries, sometimes decades in the laboratory environment. But they really are fairly cutting edge in the kitchen context and being used in new and creative ways—being tweaked. I think that was the thing that most surprised me. The other thing got me excited was thinking about the application of these techniques not just to enhance the upscale dining experience, but also to contribute to more humanitarian causes like making food more palatable and healthier in a hospital environment.
TK: You got to try a lot of these new food creations. What tasted the best?
MD: I'm obsessed with popcorn, so I was really looking forward to the popper gun. The steak that they cooked under sous vide was unlike any steak I've ever had before. It was really quite good, not like anything I've had on a barbecue or seared on the stove. It was very, very tender, very juicy, really flavorful.
TK: Dave Arnold made some cocktails, too...
MD: I loved tasting those drinks. I mean, I’m a lover of all cocktails. And we got to try three different ones, and they were all delicious and unusual and unique in their own way. I have never had a flaming cocktail—not like that.
TK: Would you describe yourself as a foodie?
MD: Yeah, I'm a total foodie. I love to eat and I love to cook, so this was really interesting on both ends of it, to get the experience of tasting this unique food and then also seeing how these techniques are being employed. I might try to pull some of those tricks out in the kitchen when I'm next in there.