Is the term “molecular gastronomy” obsolete?

According to Emma Marris at The Sceptical Chymist, Harold McGee, author of my favorite book “On Food and Cooking” has suggested that the term “molecular gastronomy” should be ditched.

He noted that most chefs labeled as molecular gastronomists rejected the label and say that their experiments rarely take place on the molecular level. […] These chefs aren’t looking into molecules, says McGee, “they are cooking with ingredients. They are artists, not chemists.”


  1. Maybe it has been forgotten, but not the chefs are usually the molecular gastronomists, but their scientists; like Peter Barham with Heston Blumenthal.
    Molecular gastronomy is about the science of cooking and not limited to applying the latest technologies to fancy restaurant menus. Central figures of molecular gastronomy are Herve This, Peter Barham, Nicolas Kurti, and others and not Heston Blumenthal or Ferran Adria (well maybe to a small degree).

  2. I’d say you need both a chef and a scientist to do molecular gastronomy. You certainly need the scientist to get a correct understanding of the whats, whys and hows. But despite a scientists lively creativity, I’d say you need a chef (or an artist if you want) to transform molecular gastronomy into something that can attract attention in a restaurant.

    In a restaurant setting, I guess the ideal would be if a guest (particularly a non-scientist) eats a wonderful meal at a restaurant, and afterwards learns that is was prepared by the carful observation of several scientific principles to get the most out of the tastes, aromas, colors and textures.

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