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Avant-Garde Chef Heads to Harvard

Non-Newtonian fluids may soon wind up on your dinner plate.
March 20, 2009

New Scientist magazine has published a Q&A today with Ferran Adrià, head chef and co-owner of the renowned elBulli restaurant in Spain. The chef recently visited Harvard, where he met with his new collaborator, physical chemist Laurent Courbin, an expert in non-Newtonian fluids.

Courbin expects the collaboration to be mutually beneficial. He hopes to help Adrià’s team achieve new textures by tweaking foods at the molecular level. Yet he is also keen to explore the physical properties of foods from the kitchen of elBulli. “It’s really an interaction to try and improve our understanding of a problem,” Courbin says. “In the end we would get an understanding of something, he will get an improvement in a product.”

And if the Harvard collaboration yields a paper or two, don’t be surprised to see Adrià among the authors, he says. “We publish with some industrial people, why not with a famous chef?”

For more on the intersection between science and food, check out Corby Kummer’s piece “The Alchemist.”

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