Episode 98: Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking with Author Jessica Gavin, Culinary Scientist

Monday, June 18, 2018
We are delighted to interview Jessica Gavin, culinary scientist and author of the new cookbook Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking, all about some basic science principles that can elevate your home cooking. We go over dry and moist heat methods, the Maillard reaction, braising and stewing, emulsification, thickening methods and different baking mixing methods. Plus, we have a giveaway of her cookbook, so join us on the Hungry Squared Podcast's Facebook and Instagram pages.

Let's taco 'bout it!

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Let's taco 'bout it!

  • Jessica's grandfathers were rival chefs at the same Chinese restaurant in the Bay area, but their kids ended up falling in love and getting married. Food has always been a part of family DNA. Dessert Circus and Yan Can Cook were a huge part of why she wanted to go to culinary school.
  • Thankfully she heard about culinary science from a relative and was hooked on how the arts and the science was combined in cooking.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Gavin

Photo courtesy of Jessica Gavin

  • Moist heat cooking is using water and its different states. Vegetables when steamed quickly, the cell walls become more translucent and the chlorophyll shimmers through more. When you blanch it, that will stop the reaction and keep your veggies brighter in color.
  • Braising and stewing is all about low and slow, where connective tissue is broken down and converted into gelatin. If you go long enough, the gelatin will eventually be reabsorbed and add to flavor and texture and juiciness. Using a Dutch oven or cast iron is the best for braising and stewing.
  • The difference between the settings of High and Low on a slow cooker, is all about how quickly the slow cooker gets up to max temperature, NOT about the temperature. (Mind blown!)
  • Emulsification is all about bringing two things that don't want to be brought together (making a mixture uniform). Weak emulsifying agents (honey or mustard) or stronger ones (lecithin in the form of egg yolks) can be used to bring those things together. Quick tip: Add a teaspoon of mayonnaise in your vinaigrette, it will keep your dressing stable longer.
  • Sauces are so elusive and can "break". You need to ensure the fat is coating your starch particles. Remember, it should be 1:1 fat to starch by WEIGHT!

Photo courtesy of Jessica Gavin

Run Time: 61 minutes

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