You could spend a lifetime studying the art and the science of cookery, yet ultimately much of what goes on in the average kitchen involves raising the temperatures of ingredients and consequently lowering their water content. But there is another procedure that turns this on its head: Freeze Drying.
Science lab madness? Not really. The equipment may be complex but the idea behind freeze drying is anything but – in fact it was used in a very crude form by the Incas over 500 years ago and was then fully refined during World War Two. Food is frozen and then, under a vacuum, allowed to gently thaw. Under reduced pressure the liquid in the food sublimates, turning from frozen solid directly into a gas (completely bypassing that pesky water phase). This gas is then pulled from the food by the vacuum pump, and out over an ultra-low temperature condenser, where it freezes back into ice for later disposal. Around 24 hours later and the food in the freeze dryer is still uncooked yet dry, light and airy yet still structurally intact.
Preserving seasonal ingredients without altering their taste in any way, turning sauces and other compositions into super intensely flavoured delicacies, creating brand new tastes, shapes and textures for our future dishes…. the potential is enormous.
Let the games begin.