The Proper Venue For Televised Avant-Garde Molecular Gastronomy

By Spencer Ackerman, who’s bored as shit during his day off at Guantanamo Bay and wishes he knew how to not-work

The television network formerly known as the Sci-Fi Channel has an almost-good idea for a show, via io9:

Utilizing the science of cooking, Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen stars one of America’s most notorious chefs, molecular gastronomist Marcel Vigneron (Top Chef). In each episode, Marcel and his new catering and event company will be hired by a demanding client to produce an extraordinary celebration or event. Based on the client’s requests, Marcel will dream up a theme and cuisine for the event, which range from a fairytale graduation party and a Goth-rock fashion show to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new subway line. He and his team of party planners and chefs will tap the depths of their imagination and culinary talents to create everything from the immersive decor to a delicious menu that emphasizes Marcel’s unique brand of avant-garde cooking.

I was on Team Marcel for the TC2 finale, because fuck Ilan Hall. And I say this is almost a good idea for a show because I want to see the guy actually teach me about the techniques and principles that undergird the mad-scientist food he makes. I would watch that show endlessly. But that doesn’t look like that’s what’s happening here. Please, SyFy: less Ace of Cakes, more Good Eats.


2 responses to “The Proper Venue For Televised Avant-Garde Molecular Gastronomy

  1. you’ve been reading my diary. imagine a show where each episode explored some technical aspect of the science of flavor/texture/etc., while following a molecular gastronomy chef preparing a meal using a technique or techniques that highlighted it. it would be amazing. every chapter of herve this’ ‘molecular gastronomy’ would be a great episode, and there’s like 30 or 40 of them.

  2. I really don’t get cooking shows. Because they are rarely about cooking. They’re about faux-competition and voting people out of the kitchen and laughing at them when some experiment goes bad.

    Part of the problem is that most of the great chefs are so self-absorbed that they can’t really think about their viewers, so they don’t actually talk to them as much as they banter about while they’re doing their thing. There are exceptions, and you’ll find them on NPR or the Spilled Milk podcast, but rarely on cable TV. But if you should find yourself watching a Top Chef-style program, count the number of times the experts use the same adjective. Everything is fabulous, or amazing, or whatever … no time to really tell us anything about it, except that it’s superlative.

    Again, there are exceptions. But it would be fabulous and amazing if there was a program where someone got into the science behind the technique, and talked to us as though they really care whether we were listening.

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