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  • Ben Roche: So I'm Ben, by the way.

  • Homaro Cantu: And I'm Homaro.

  • BR: And we're chefs. So when Moto

  • opened in 2004, people didn't really know

  • what to expect. A lot of people thought

  • that it was a Japanese restaurant, and

  • maybe it was the name, maybe it was

  • the logo, which was like a Japanese

  • character, but anyway, we had all these

  • requests for Japanese food, which is

  • really not what we did. And after about

  • the ten thousandth request for a maki roll,

  • we decided to give the people

  • what they wanted. So this picture is

  • an example of printed food, and this was

  • the first foray into what we like to call

  • flavor transformation. So this is all

  • the ingredients, all the flavor of, you know,

  • a standard maki roll, printed onto

  • a little piece of paper.

  • HC: So our diners started to get bored

  • with this idea, and we decided to give them

  • the same course twice, so here we actually

  • took an element from the maki roll and

  • and took a picture of a dish and then

  • basically served that picture with the dish.

  • So this dish in particular is basically

  • champagne with seafood.

  • The champagne grapes that you see are

  • actually carbonated grapes. A little bit of

  • seafood and some crème fraiche and the

  • picture actually tastes exactly like the dish. (Laughter)

  • BR: But it's not all just edible pictures.

  • We decided to do something

  • a little bit different and transform flavors

  • that were very familiar -- so in this case,

  • we have carrot cake.

  • So we take a carrot cake, put it

  • in a blender, and we have kind of like

  • a carrot cake juice, and then that went into

  • a balloon frozen in liquid nitrogen to create

  • this hollow shell of carrot cake

  • ice cream, I guess, and it comes off

  • looking like, you know,

  • Jupiter's floating around your plate.

  • So yeah, we're transforming things into

  • something that you have absolutely

  • no reference for.

  • HC: And here's something we have no

  • reference to eat. This is a cigar, and

  • basically it's a Cuban cigar made out of

  • a Cuban pork sandwich, so we take these

  • spices that go into the pork shoulder,

  • we fashion that into ash. We take

  • the sandwich and wrap it up in

  • a collard green, put an edible label

  • that bears no similarity to

  • a Cohiba cigar label, and we put it

  • in a dollar ninety-nine ashtray and charge

  • you about twenty bucks for it. (Laughter)

  • HC: Delicious.

  • BR: That's not it, though.

  • Instead of making foods that

  • look like things that you wouldn't eat,

  • we decided to make ingredients

  • look like dishes that you know.

  • So this is a plate of nachos.

  • The difference between our nachos

  • and the other guy's nachos,

  • is that this is actually a dessert.

  • So the chips are candied,

  • the ground beef is made from chocolate,

  • and the cheese is made from a shredded

  • mango sorbet that gets shredded

  • into liquid nitrogen to look like cheese.

  • And after doing all of this

  • dematerialization and reconfiguring

  • of this, of these ingredients, we realized

  • that it was pretty cool,

  • because as we served it, we learned that

  • the dish actually behaves like the real thing,

  • where the cheese begins to melt.

  • So when you're looking at this thing

  • in the dining room, you have this sensation

  • that this is actually a plate of nachos,

  • and it's not really until you begin tasting it

  • that you realize this is a dessert, and

  • it's just kind of like a mind-ripper.

  • (Laughter)

  • HC: So we had been creating

  • all of these dishes out of a

  • kitchen that was more like

  • a mechanic's shop than a kitchen, and

  • the next logical step for us was to install

  • a state-of-the-art laboratory,

  • and that's what we have here.

  • So we put this in the basement, and we

  • got really serious about food, like

  • serious experimentation.

  • BR: One of the really cool things about

  • the lab, besides that we have a new

  • science lab in the kitchen, is that,

  • you know, with this new equipment, and

  • this new approach, all these

  • different doors to creativity that we never

  • knew were there began to open, and so the

  • experiments and the food and the dishes

  • that we created, they just kept going

  • further and further out there.

  • HC: Let's talk about flavor transformation,

  • and let's actually make some cool stuff.

  • You see a cow with its tongue hanging out.

  • What I see is a cow about to eat something

  • delicious. What is that cow eating?

  • And why is it delicious?

  • So the cow, basically, eats three basic

  • things in their feed: corn, beets, and barley,

  • and so what I do is I actually

  • challenge my staff with these crazy,

  • wild ideas. Can we take what the cow

  • eats, remove the cow, and then make

  • some hamburgers out of that?

  • And basically the reaction tends to be

  • kind of like this. (Laughter)

  • BR: Yeah, that's our chef de cuisine,

  • Chris Jones. This is not the only guy

  • that just flips out when we assign

  • a ridiculous task, but a lot of these ideas,

  • they're hard to understand.

  • They're hard to just get automatically.

  • There's a lot of research and a lot of

  • failure, trial and error -- I guess, more error --

  • that goes into each and every dish,

  • so we don't always get it right, and it takes

  • a while for us to be able to explain that

  • to people.

  • HC: So, after about a day of Chris and I

  • staring at each other, we came up with

  • something that was pretty close

  • to the hamburger patty, and as you can

  • see it basically forms like hamburger meat.

  • This is made from three ingredients:

  • beets, barley, corn, and so it

  • actually cooks up like hamburger meat,

  • looks and tastes like hamburger meat,

  • and not only that, but it's basically

  • removing the cow from the equation.

  • So replicating food, taking it into that

  • next level is where we're going.

  • (Applause)

  • BR: And it's definitely the world's first

  • bleeding veggie burger,

  • which is a cool side effect.

  • And a miracle berry, if you're not familiar

  • with it, is a natural ingredient, and it

  • contains a special property.

  • It's a glycoprotein called miraculin,

  • a naturally occurring thing. It still freaks

  • me out every time I eat it, but it has a

  • unique ability to mask certain taste

  • receptors on your tongue, so that primarily

  • sour taste receptors, so normally things

  • that would taste very sour or tart,

  • somehow begin to taste very sweet.

  • HC: You're about to eat a lemon,

  • and now it tastes like lemonade.

  • Let's just stop and think about the

  • economic benefits of something like that.

  • We could eliminate sugar across the board

  • for all confectionary products and sodas,

  • and we can replace it with

  • all-natural fresh fruit.

  • BR: So you see us here cutting up

  • some watermelon. The idea with this

  • is that we're going to eliminate tons of

  • food miles, wasted energy,

  • and overfishing of tuna by creating tuna,

  • or any exotic produce or item

  • from a very far-away place,

  • with local, organic produce;

  • so we have a watermelon from Wisconsin.

  • HC: So if miracle berries take sour things

  • and turn them into sweet things,

  • we have this other pixie dust

  • that we put on the watermelon, and it

  • makes it go from sweet to savory.

  • So after we do that, we put it into

  • a vacuum bag, add a little bit of seaweed,

  • some spices, and we roll it, and this

  • starts taking on the appearance of tuna.

  • So the key now is to make it

  • behave like tuna.

  • BR: And then after a quick dip into some

  • liquid nitrogen to get that perfect sear,

  • we really have something that looks,

  • tastes and behaves like the real thing.

  • HC: So the key thing to remember here is,

  • we don't really care

  • what this tuna really is.

  • As long as it's good for you and good for

  • the environment, it doesn't matter.

  • But where is this going?

  • How can we take this idea of tricking your

  • tastebuds and leapfrog it into something

  • that we can do today that could be

  • a disruptive food technology?

  • So here's the next challenge.

  • I told the staff, let's just take a bunch

  • of wild plants, think of them as

  • food ingredients. As long as they're

  • non-poisonous to the human body,

  • go out around Chicago sidewalks,

  • take it, blend it, cook it and then

  • have everybody flavor-trip on it at Moto.

  • Let's charge them a boatload of cash for this

  • and see what they think. (Laughter)

  • BR: Yeah, so you can imagine, a task

  • like this -- this is another one of those

  • assignments that the kitchen staff

  • hated us for. But we really had to almost

  • relearn how to cook in general,

  • because these are ingredients, you know,

  • plant life that we're, one, unfamiliar with,

  • and two, we have no reference for how

  • to cook these things because

  • people don't eat them.

  • So we really had to think about new, creative ways

  • to flavor, new ways to cook

  • and to change texture -- and that was

  • the main issue with this challenge.

  • HC: So this is where we step into the future

  • and we leapfrog ahead.

  • So developing nations

  • and first-world nations,

  • imagine if you could take these wild plants

  • and consume them, food miles would

  • basically turn into food feet.

  • This disruptive mentality of what food is

  • would essentially open up the encyclopedia

  • of what raw ingredients are, even if we just

  • swapped out, say, one of these for flour,

  • that would eliminate so much energy

  • and so much waste.

  • And to give you a simple example here as to

  • what we actually fed these customers,

  • there's a bale of hay there

  • and some crab apples.

  • And basically we took hay and crab apples

  • and made barbecue sauce out of those two ingredients.

  • People swore they were eating

  • barbecue sauce, and this is free food.

  • BR: Thanks, guys.

  • (Applause)

Ben Roche: So I'm Ben, by the way.

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B1 US TED cow carrot cake tuna dish basically

【TED】Homaro Cantu + Ben Roche: Cooking as alchemy (Homaro Cantu + Ben Roche: Cooking as alchemy)

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    amd posted on 2015/10/26
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