“Experimenting with food” is a common phrase that we all hear often. But, take it in the strict sense of the term, and you have nailed a trend that is very much in vogue! Molecular gastronomy is a sub-discipline of food science that seeks to investigate physical as well as chemical transformations of ingredients that occur whilst cooking.
With changes in how we cook and eat the fields of culinary arts and culinary science appear to be merging into one. Many famous restaurants now have cooking laboratories on their premises, while universities and colleges around the world are beginning to offer degrees in culinology, thus blending food science and technology with culinary art.
Interest in food science has grown in recent years because of the increasing awareness of the vital role of food in health and well-being. Moreover, with rising economic status of individuals and people’s curiosity and desire to try new and innovative food dishes, the discerning are always on the lookout for restaurants rooted in molecular gastronomy that offer delightful eating experiences. HOT takes you to three such places….
Dine in the future
Food and technology may seem two vastly different worlds, but together they can offer a sublime experience. Paco Roncero’s Sublimotion distils technological innovation, vanguard gastronomy and the personal touch. After years of research & development they have vanguard gastronomy, state-of-the-art technology and creativity merged, creating a world first in the food and technology sector. Double Michelin star and three Repsol star Spanish chef Paco Roncero has transformed a dream into a reality.
Situated in the five star Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, Sublimotion is a unique space developed by a team of chefs, artists, engineers, script writers, illusionists and stage designers. During the winter months, this group of professionals gather together in this pioneering laboratory to test new creations and concepts which challenge convention and stimulate the senses in a new way.
Specialised in fusing gastronomy with technology, guests to Sublimotion become the star of the show thanks to multi-platform special effects used within the central capsule, designed to transport diners to newfound places. The concept of Sublimotion was born in 2012, inside Paco Roncero’s studio, in collaboration with events specialists Vega Factory. After two years of research in culinary technology and artistry, Sublimotion was launched. A substantial investment in R&D allowed the team to work across a number of platforms simultaneously, combining different elements of visual art, special effects and communication which can be applied to the basic ritual of sitting around a table, enjoying food with other human beings. This ancient custom, which plays a fundamental part of social interaction, was the starting point of this journey, which developed into an obsession of what a dining experience could be like in the year 2050.
Recently, Paco Roncero and his team have joined forces with Samsung to bring forward the concept of future dining. Sublimotion powered by Samsung VR is part of the experience recently launched, where thanks to the virtual technology offered by Samsung Gear VR, diners can experience elements of a futuristic diner party where the nutritional values as well as the entire elaboration process float virtually in mid-air on each mouthful.
Sublimotion has been designed to offer a unique gastro journey which cannot be replicated elsewhere. Offering 350m2 of installations and a 250m2 private terrace to enjoy the perfect post dinner drink, guests enter the capsule via a hidden entrance, giving the illusion of being transported in a cargo lift before accessing the main 70m2 capsule. Sitting in the centre of the white canvas capsule, is a table for 12 guests which is one of the defining features of Sublimotion.
Recognised at the 2014 Worldwide Hospitality Awards as the “world’s best innovation in food and drink”, the experience starts on board a Range Rover Sport, which transports guests to the undisclosed location. On arrival, guests enter the capsule which plays host to a range of dramatic scenes, transporting diners from the past to the future fusing art, gastronomy and technology.
Experiencing a mix of the tangible and intangible, in ‘2050’, thanks to augmented reality, guests will experience in real time the reflection of how dining will be enjoyed in four decades time. While enjoying an exquisite ceviche and a tuna nigiri, elaborated with ingredients such as edible seaweed, wasabi and sea beans, guests wearing the special augmented reality gear can visualize real-time nutritional information and other data about the process of elaboration of the dish that they are about to taste.
In addition, guests can “travel” from the bottom of the “Ocean” to the legendary Orient Express, revel in the sophistication of the purest tastes of the sea found inside Fabergé eggs, accompanied by Grand Siècle Champagne by Laurent Perrier, rediscover their inner child thanks to the magic of the circus and elaborated versions of fun snacks or be part of a unique tribute to the hippie essence of the island of Ibiza or the music of the ‘80s…
All of this is made possible, thanks to the choreography of a team of 25 professionals who have developed this multisensory journey, marking a new era for technology and cuisine.
Old world hospitality with lab-cooking
The story of this restaurant is the story of a family. The restaurant was actually a house built in 1897 by the owner’s grandparents José María Arzak Etxabe and Escolástica Lete, as a wine cellar and tavern at Alto de Miracruz, in the village of Alza, now part of San Sebastian. The owner’s parents, Juan Ramón Arzak and Francisca Arratibel soon took over. Together they turned it into a simple but well thought of restaurant. Their efforts and talents in the kitchen did not go unnoticed. Little by little the word spread that something good was cooking in Alto de Miracruz also known as Alto de “Vinagres”. The restaurant acquired a certain name and specialized in banquets for family celebrations. As the quality of the banquets continued to improve they acquired great prestige.
The family and the restaurant grew. In the mid 1970s they started to receive prizes and awards which reaffirmed the efforts to convert Restaurante Arzak into a gastronomic reference both nationally and internationally. In 1989 they received the sought after third star from the prestigious Michelin guide.
In the very same century old building, Juan Mari and Elena Arzak (father and daughter) apply incredible modernist techniques to traditional basque cuisine. New flavours, textures and a complete multisensory experience surprises diners. One will even be served some dishes over computer screens. Upstairs from the restaurant one can find a small food laboratory with pH meters, sonicators and liquid nitrogen- all integral parts in this process of experimenting with cuisine. Everyday, they experiment and investigate with the flavours, textures and elaboration’s processes. Besides the investigation’s kitchen there is a “Flavour Bank”, that contains more than 1000 products and ingredients they use for their investigations and for the new creations.
Arzak has a relaxed atmosphere and both chefs treat diners as part of their family so one will definitely feel at home. In addition to the mouth-smacking experimental food, it is this superimposition of the traditional and old with the very new that makes this space a must-visit!
Local and global
Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique located in Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali, is regarded as one of the best fine dining experiences yet unrivalled in Bali or in Asia and a quintessential stop on any foodies’ journey to Bali.
It has received the rare status of entry into the prized ‘Les Grandes Tables Du Monde’ (The Grand Tables of The World) and other accolades include San Pellegrino’s ‘The World’s Top 50 Restaurants’, Miele Guides ‘Top 10 in Asia’ and Wine Spectator bestowed Award of Excellence – the first restaurant in Indonesia to receive such recognition.
Mozaic Restaurant is a fresh oasis of ingenuity in the world of gastronomy and it embodies the philosophy of Chef Chris Salans at the highest culinary level: gastronomic discovery in an elegant setting with impeccable standards of service. It is the uniqueness of the experience that has become the hallmark of its reputation, encompassing the quality of the ingredients, the perfect execution, the sheer multitude of flavours and the quality of the service, all to be enjoyed in an intimate magical garden-set restaurant.
Chef Chris perfectly marries the techniques of French modern cooking and presentation, with the native ingredients and amazing flavours of Indonesia, associating usual and unusual flavours together.
Mozaic Restaurant offers a choice of different daily tasting menus which provides different levels of experimentation and they change regularly to keep pace with Mother Nature. Mozaic’s ever-changing menu consists of à la minute creations which evolve, disappear and return in accordance with market availability.
Chef Salans and his team prepare what inspires them in the moment, orchestrating their tasting menus like a symphony, a sequence of marvellous colours and flavours of the season served by knowledgeable waiting staff before the sommelier indulges guests with his expertly paired wines.
The fairy-tale garden setting serves as the perfect backdrop for this experimentation. Beyond this, is the Workshop that is used for cooking classes and to host private dinner experiences for up to 40 guests, where diners are encouraged to interact with the chefs and ask questions on how each dish is prepared. It is here, that the seasonal and local is respected and yet, the global trends are nurtured to produce taste that is unparalleled.
Chefs have thus become scientists of sorts, merging their unique skills with scientific knowledge and techniques on food to produce that appeals to all the senses. It is not only the look and taste of the food but the experience of consuming it and the ambience thereof that is equally important. It is perhaps in the mélange of all these factors, that these restaurants and other similar ones, win over. The future of dining is here!