Harvard SEAS lecture, 11/26/12, David Chang and Carles Tejedor

The lecture was split into three parts: Professor David Weitz gave the science opening and explained why, even though oil+water is opaque, Carles Tejedor’s olive oil gelee is clear. (The opacity is due to the mismatch of index of refraction between oil and water. Water has a lower index of refraction than oil. The sugar in the olive oil gelee increases the index of refraction of water almost to that of oil.)

The second part of the lecture was a short food demo by Carles Tejedor in which he plated oil yogurt (made up of 25% extra virgin olive oil, the yogurt was made pretty via spherification) and some olive oil bread (made up of 50% olive oil, I think he said).

The third and longest part of the lecture was David Chang waxing poetic about microbes. (^_^)
It really wasn’t anything that he hasn’t talked about before, so I won’t bother rehashing it. Just enjoy the pictures below.

As for audience goodies, we got to try the olive oil yogurt with olive oil breadcrumbs. We also got about 1/2 tsp of cashew miso, and three vials of mystery liquid. The first vial was cashew tare (the fermented cashew juice that separates out post-centrifuging). The second was olive “soy sauce, which tasted like salty concentrated olive juice. And the last vial was fermented olive juice which was very bitter to due oleuropein, a chemical compound which naturally occurs in olive.

The Momufuku research team tried making their own fresh olive oil which, by David’s accounts, “tasted terrible – it was really bad.” (I think the olives themselves were the problem as they were olives of various qualities from California.) They also tried to make fermented olive oil, which failed. Very disappointing for the Momufuku team, since it was supposed to be the actual lecture topic. But as David said, “The flavor is in the water, stupid. It’s not fat soluble.”

I think my favorite quote of the night from David Chang was “I’m having fun making food that tastes like the East Village” (which is sort of an explanation of way David does the things he does).

Anyway, the Momufuku miso experiments are no where near production level which makes me really sad because they make delicious miso.  (Hello!  Peanut-barley miso from last year!)  I should have asked David if he’d consider publishing a cookbook about fermentation.  Alas, I thought of it too late.  (;___;)

And on that note, I’d just like to say that you can watch David Chang’s “The Mind of a Chef” on PBS.  The videos, at the time of this post, are still available on the PBS website.  Just type in “mind of a chef” into the video search box.  Also, if you’d like Carles Tejedor’s olive oil gelee recipe (which is delicious, btw) you can download his olive oil app.  Once you’ve played all the games (which is easy and can be done in, like, 10 minutes), the recipe unlocks.

Good night!



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