Take some ascorbic acid and add a little glucose. Throw in a hint of citric acid and mix it with a few grams of 4-O-a-glucopyranosyl-D-sorbitol, a sugar substitute otherwise known as maltitol.
This is the taste sensation that will reach Hong Kong today, where the celebrated French chef Pierre Gagnaire will push back culinary boundaries with what is being described as the world’s first entirely synthetic gourmet dish.
Mr Gagnaire, who has three Michelin stars, has worked for months with Hervé This, the founder of molecular gastronomy, to create the recipe – entitled le note à note – from chemical compounds.
The result, he says, is a starter of jelly balls tasting of apple and lemon; creamy on the inside and crackling on the outside.
“It is good,” he said ahead of today’s lunch at his restaurant in Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental hotel. “It’s going to be smooth, crusty and frosty.” The meal will include a lobster fricassée served with polyphenol sauce, another Gagnaire-This invention, made of tartaric acid, glucose and polyphenols.
Mr This, a chemist specialising in food science, is touting the meal – for which all tables have been reserved – as a step into the future of haute cuisine. Tomorrow’s chefs will frown upon plain vegetables, such as carrots, he says, and will instead use the molecules which make up carrots – caroteniods, pectins, fructose and glucuronic acid.