Even if you have state-of-the-art restaurant equipment and a top-notch culinary staff, your menu is where the money lies.
With so many great food options out there, restaurants look for the next popular dish or type of dish that can help them grow their customer base. Molecular dishes have proven useful for this type of goal.
Molecular dishes offer you the chance to give customers great taste with an interesting presentation. Understanding the science behind molecular dishes helps you craft the foods that can help raise profits.
What is a Molecular Dish?
Everyone knows about traditional cooking methods. Even if you haven’t been in the restaurant or catering business for a long time, you know what foods are supposed to look like. This means that presenting them in a new way can grab a person’s attention, and give your establishment a unique advantage over the competition.
Here are some popular molecular cooking recipes to try out.
1. Smoked Beer
Beer is a staple of almost all bars and many restaurants as well. Adding a cool twist to a classic beverage is a great way to keep patrons interested and encourage them to try out your new menu items. What’s the science behind smoked beer? It involves coating food with a surface-level infusion of flavor. The practice relies on a lesser-known type of restaurant equipment – the smoking gun.
All you need is some beer, some wood chips or aromatic herbs, and the smoking gun. After you load the gun up with either wood chips or herbs, you can light it to release smoky flavor onto beer without heating it up. Simply wrap a glass, let the smoke enter it, shake it gently, turn off the gun, remove the wrap, and serve up a tasty beer with an unforgettable smoky flavor.
2. Powdered Nutella
With a food as popular as Nutella, preparing it in a unique way is icing on the proverbial cake. The delicious hazelnut flavor is enough to have many eager individuals scooping it out of the jar by the spoonful. But what if there was a way you could present it in powder form, while still allowing it to retain the flavor people have become accustomed to?
To create powdered Nutella, you’ll need to use maltodextrin. This polysaccharide, or simple sugar, is derived from breaking down starch, corn, potatoes, or wheat. You’ll want to maintain a precise ratio of one-third cup of Nutella per one-half cup of maltodextrin powder. Hand-whisk the two together, then put the mixture into a blender or food processor for a few seconds. Shake then blend again until you have the perfect powdery, fluffy topping to add to fruits or desserts.
3. Fizzy Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
There’s something about the fizz or foam in a carbonated beverage that makes it that much more enjoyable. Coupled with the sweet taste of most soda pops, the fizz-effect just adds to the delight. If you use the right type of sugar, you can double-dip strawberries to get both the popping sensation and chocolate (or any other flavor) if you prefer.
For sugar that fizzes or pops because of carbon dioxide within it, the reaction occurs when the sugar comes into contact with moisture. Meaning, patrons will be able to feel and taste the treat simultaneously once it meets their lips. This one’s simple, and requires no special type of restaurant equipment. Simply dip strawberries in chocolate (or any other topping you prefer) then dip it into the popping sugar to create a delicious treat that appeals to multiple senses at once.
4. Oysters and Passion Caviar
Molecular cooking isn’t just for drinks and desserts. If you have oysters on the menu and are looking for a good way to spice this common dish up, consider topping it passion caviar. Presenting caviar in the form of tiny jelly pellets offers a new look for a popular gourmet food. Combining it with oysters makes for a nice looking and great tasting dish.
With as little as a quarter-teaspoon of agar-agar powder, you can get a gel-like consistency for your caviar. Derived from red algae, this substance sticks to foods and helps thicken them, allowing them to be molded into the desired shape. You’ll also need one-half cup of vegetable oil and one-third cup of passion fruit juice puree. Chill the oil and mix the juice with agar in a saucepan for broiling. After the agar has dissolves and cooled, drop the mixture one drop at a time (via a straw) onto cold oil. You can store the resulting gel balls in water until you’re ready to use them.
Why You Should Use Molecular Dishes
Molecular dishes rarely take any type of special restaurant equipment. You may bring a chafing dish or heating unit if you’re taking warm molecular dishes to a catered event, but most of these experimental menu items can be created with common ingredients and culinary tools.
Molecular dishes look great in food display cases and on advertisements. They can build interest in a new food business or even revitalize one that has plateaued. Molecular cooking has been called the future of the culinary industry, meaning it’s an evidence-based approach to boosting your bottom line and giving your customers something new to try out the next time they stop by.