I have had the pleasure of working with Aaron Prater, culinary instructor at Johnson County Community College, over the past year as he discovered new uses for Freeze Dryers and other scientific equipment in his kitchen. Typically my day is spent guiding scientists as they lyophilize their samples with the goals being long-term sample storage or high recovery of bioactivity in their sample. It is refreshing to work on method development where the goal is simply for the sample to taste better.
Last year Aaron and I developed a method for the extraction of whiskey barrel flavor for artisan chocolatier, Christopher Elbow. Christopher only uses fresh, authentic ingredients and we managed to successfully extract and concentrate the flavor of whiskey barrel using a -105 degree C Labconco Freeze Dryer. The resulting chocolate was amazing! However, the quantity of whiskey it required to produce an extract of the flavor was not feasible for commercial production.
This article about Aaron's methods talks about the science of cooking:
Stroll through Johnson County Community College’s innovation kitchen with Aaron Prater, an associate chef professor in the Hospitality and Culinary program, and you might think you took a wrong turn into the chemistry department.
But the rotary evaporator, sonic dismembrator, freeze dryer and other equipment lining the stainless steel counters are exactly where they’re meant to be — the heart of Prater’s desire to introduce JCCC students to modernist cuisine.
Of course, a universal laboratory safety rule is no food storage or eating in the lab. We are not advocating breaking this rule. We want you to sign up to attend this fun class at Pittcon and taste the amazing results as we take the lab equipment to the kitchen.
Read the entire original article, "Johnson County Community College’s innovation kitchen" by Jill Toyoshiba.
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