March 22, 2010

Future Food and Moto

Ironically, just hours after my post about April Fools Day food, I found myself eating at Moto to celebrate the premiere of Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche's new Planet Green TV series, Future Food. Moto is on the cutting edge, or rather the liquid nitrogen-fueled extremely cold edge of the innovative molecular gastronomy food movement.

We nibbled Cuban sandwiches that looked like Cuban cigars, cupcakes covered in foie gras with pistachio flake sprinkles, and s'mores bombs. Take a look below at some of the delightful eats at the event.
More check-ins at Moto Restaurant
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Molecular gastronomy goes beyond simply cooking and focuses on the chemical reactions that happen when food is modified and when it hits our taste buds. It's an art form that aims to transform ingredients and combine cuisine with splashes of aesthetic and technical flair to impress the senses.

I watched one episode of Future Food at the event and another one at home. The show is full of foodie + geeky fun, which in my world is a very good thing.

Another aspect I like about Future Food is the creativity and the enthusiasm of Moto's kitchen staff. Having met them, it seems very genuine. They are a very playful and energetic bunch, to put it mildly.

There was talk about the staff at Moto from Cantu and Roche on down (this from Roche, himself) as kind of outliers or more bluntly, sort of a ragtag group of misfits who have come together to create something wonderful and exceptional. This adds an endearing aspect to the show.

I like that Cantu and Roche take their food to the streets of Chicago to test out some of their dishes. That adds a fun element and a chance to highlight the city.

So I'm cheering for the Moto staff and the future of Future Foods, however, the environmental theme is a bit specious. I'm not sure the wacky set-ups which lead to a tenuous "green" connection are necessary because what the team does with their food is really cool and I sense some big personalities just waiting to unfold. From idea to plate, the food is unique and exciting; I think the food and the staff could hold their own without such contrived plot structures.

Along those lines, the team shares some of the science behind their work, but I would have liked to have learned more. Cooking is all about chemistry and these guys take it to the extreme with their liquid nitrogen and beakers (I see a whole new cooking line based on this show), surely they have a thing or two to teach us.

I think my boys ages, 9 and 11, will get a kick out of this show, but I'd like to see some precautions taken, or at least advised, i.e. don't stick your hand in the -370 degree F liquid nitrogen.

Cantu has been taking risks ever since he opened up Moto (long before, no doubt) and and I'd love to see this one pay off. We'll definitely be tuning in to future episodes of Future Food, and I hope the show gets renewed for a second season, so it has a chance to come into its own.

Edited to add: See what my friends at Gaper's Block had to say about this extravaganza.

1 comment:

Gayle said...

Glad you had a good time!!!

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