Sunday, 9 March 2014

Molecular Gastronomy: The Iscreamist Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Clodualdo Llana
STS-THY Group 1
Individual Project

Molecular Gastronomy:
The Iscreamist Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

What is Molecular Gastronomy?

Molecular Gastronomy blends physics and chemistry to transform the tastes and textures of food to create new and innovative dining experiences.

It is commonly used to describe a style of cuisine in which chef explore culinary possibilities by borrowing tools from the science laboratory and ingredients from the food industry.

It refers to the scientific discipline that studies the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking. Molecular gastronomy seeks to investigate and explain the chemical reasons behind the transformation of ingredients, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena.


The term Molecular and Physical Gastronomy was coined in 1988 by the Hungarian physicist Nicholas Kurti and French physical chemist Herve This. In 1992, it became the title for a set of workshops held in Erice, Italy (originally titled Science and Gastronomy) that brought together scientists and professional cooks for discussions on the science behind traditional cooking preparations. Eventually, the shortened Molecular Gastronomy also became the name of the scientific discipline co-created by Kurti and This to be based on exploring the science behind traditional methods. (1)

In 1989, Nicholas Kurti and Herve This decided to intentionally emphasize the scientific elements of cooking by coining the term molecular and physical gastronomy. The addition of the words “molecular” and “physical” cast cooking in a new light. It was no longer magic artistry, but molecules obeying well-known processes that describe the behavior of all solids, liquids and gases. Suddenly, the art of selecting, preparing, serving and enjoying fine food became the science of doing so.

This described molecular and physical gastronomy as the physics and chemistry behind the preparation of a dish, and he began testing the scientific validity of cooking rules and old wives’ tales in a research environment that was part kitchen, part high-tech lab. (2)

Is it safe?

When people hear the words molecular gastronomy or molecular cuisine for the first time they often mistakenly view it as unhealthy, synthetic, chemical, dehumanizing and unnatural. This is not surprising given that molecular gastronomy often relies on fuming flasks of liquid nitrogen, led-blinking water baths, syringes, tabletop distilleries, PH meters and shelves of food chemicals with names like carrageenan, maltodextrin and xanthan. The truth is that the “chemicals” used in molecular gastronomy are all biological origin. Even though they have been purified and some of them processed, the raw material origin is usually marine, plant, animal or microbial. The science lab equipment used just helps modern gastronomy cooks to do simple things like maintaining extremely low temperatures fast (liquid nitrogen) or extract flavor from food (evaporator). (3)


screamist is a liquid nitrogen ice cream boutique at 46D Magiting Street, Teacher’s Village. East Diliman.

It serves freshly made ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen to give diners an exquisite and fun dining experience.

The kitchen looks like a science laboratory and diners can watch as their order is “frozen”.

First, the ingredients are mixed together then fuming liquid nitrogen is poured over to freeze the mixture to a delicious ice cream.

Giving diners a different and enjoyable dining experience.

A pleasurable and entertaining blend of science, technology and gastronomy…


Had I been granted an interview with the elusive owner (even the crew have to ask permission from him to be interviewed), this could have been the structure of the Iscreamist portion:

(Iscreamist logo)

Interview with the owner:

About Iscreamist:
- Please define Iscreamist.
- What Iscreamist stands for?
- Can you please describe the procedures in making liquid nitrogen ice cream?

About the owner:
- Name
- Do you have a background in science?
- How did you come up with the idea of liquid nitrogen ice cream?
- What inspired you to come up with Iscreamist?
- Why liquid nitrogen ice cream?

About the diners:
- What is your personal feedback from diners?
- What do you think make diners want liquid nitrogen ice cream?

About Molecular Gastronomy:
- How do you think science and technology in general affected the art of gastronomy/cooking?
- How do you think molecular gastronomy affected dining experience?
- Is it just a fad or will it stay for a long time?

(Iscreamist logo)

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