Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Heston Blumenthal Challenges Molecular Gastronomy To "Go Orgasmic"

Last May I published a post about the bitter dispute that had broken out here in Spain between the 'molecular gastronomists' (represented by Ferran "food is to thrill" Adrià) and 'traditionalists' (represented by Santi "food is to excrete" Santamaría) about the future of gastronomy. But today I can reveal that war has broken out at the very heart of molecular gastronomy - and the fallout may destroy the movement that has represented the face of radical cuisine throughout my lifetime.

I've received a tip-off via one of my Facebook groups that Heston Blumenthal is leading a coup at the International Workshop of Molecular and Physical Gastronomy (IWMPG) next month with the demand to make molecular gastronomy go ORGASMIC!

Harold McGee leads a seminar at IWMPG04 entitled "Which Came First And At What Temperature Should They Be Cooked?"Many of my regular readers who are into molecular gastronomy will be familiar with the IWMPG, due to return to its original venue of Erice in Sicily in a few weeks after a five-year break. Those used to the format will be looking forward to inspirational scientific presentations at IWMPG09 from food writers such as Hervé This, Peter Barham, Thorvald Pedersen and Harold McGee along with jaw-dropping culinary presentations from chefs such as Quique Dacosta, Andoni Aduriz, Wylie Dufresne, Grant Achatz, Richard Blais, Homaro Cantu, Ettore Bocchia, José Andrés and Alex Atala.

According to my informant, a secret session of IWMPG members has been taking place over the past couple of days at Alícia, Ferran Adrià's International Centre for Food Culture & Gastronomic Research in Sant Fruitós del Bages here in Catalunya. That meeting is being chaired by Heston Blumenthal under the banner: "There's an Economic Crisis Out There - Get Rid of the Scientific Jargon and Put the 'Wow!' Factor back into Gastronomy". The argument is not difficult to understand - Heston and the radicals are arguing that the global crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry mean that molecular gastronomy needs to fundamentally change or be crushed under the weight of public rejection. According to the protagonists, the public need to be wowed with spectacles such as those in the recent British TV series Heston's Feasts, not blinded by the scientific mumbo-jumbo of Hervé This and Peter Barham.

I'm led to believe that the consensus is leaning towards replacing the dreaded "molecular gastronomy" with the term "ORGASMIC", an acronym of ORganoleptics, Gastronomy, Art, & Science Meet In Cuisine. A final vote on the proposed name change is scheduled for tomorrow morning, followed by the unveiling at a press conference before the end of the week.

Katz's Deli on East Houston, NYC where Harry met Sally - could this be the new spiritual home of molecular gastronomy?I've been told that several of the chefs and food writers in attendance are opposed to these radical proposals on the grounds that they are "dumbing down" the science of molecular gastronomy.

One particularly hostile delegate from the UK is understood to have suggested that the new name "should be applied to Heston Blumenthal's new menu at the Little Chef restaurant chain", while a Spanish journalist is reported to have angrily compared eating at The Fat Duck as "a cross between General Hospital and When Harry Met Sally".

Chatting late last night with other members of our online molecular gastronomy group (Brilliantly Original Gastronomy On Facebook), the consensus of opinion was to go ahead and publish, before the press conference takes place. After all, if someone had told you about Watergate in confidence you wouldn't have sat on it, would you? And this has to be the world gastronomy story of the year.


Mike said...

Blimey, that's amazing. Mind you, I'm not surprised. I think it's long overdue. Are you going to Sicily if you are not working next month?

MyLastBite said...

Did you happen to watch the recent Charlie Rose (PBS) interview with Ferran Adria?

When he was asked about the name "Molecular Gastronomy", Adria said what he did was simply called "elBulli" style of cooking.

CB said...

April fools?

James said...

Nice work.

Laurence said...

"Brilliantly Original Gastronomy On Facebook." Clah-ssic!!!!!!

Su-Lin said...

ahahahaha! I really only got it when I saw Laurence's comment! Ahahahaha!

Trig said...

This was such an amazing story that all these bloggers/forum moderators picked up on it and published their different takes:

Salt Of The Earth
The Crazy Chef
The Pickled Tongue

And a very special congratulations to a very special food blogger, the totally wonderful Linda from

Playing With Fire And Water

whose inspirational idea was behind this this multinational celebration of April 1st.

Sorry, Heston, for publishing without your permission. But I'm willing to bet £5 to a penny that you'd have supported the idea of ORGASMIC if we'd put it to you.

Angry Brit said...

Tee hee. I see a schoolyard fight breaking out here.

Sergio Quiñónez said...

Hello to everyone,
I´m Sergio Quiñónez, Chef Instructor at L´Ecole du Chef, Chihuahua, México. I invite you to visit my blogspot at comments always welcomed. I´m looking for places to send my students for international practices so if you are interested please contact me at

My best regards

uk chefs forum said...

I totally love Heston.....

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