Archive for September, 2015
by Chris Young, CEO of ChefSteps
Chris Young is the CEO and co-founder of ChefSteps, a James Beard award-winning company behind ChefSteps.com and its companion app, which inspire and teach home & professional cooks new techniques and recipes with high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources.
In my previous post I shared the story of a single meal at The Fat Duck that completely changed the trajectory of my career as a chef. It began with an elegant amuse-bouche called Nitro-Poached Green Tea Sour: a delicate balance of flavor, texture, and temperature yielding something wholly new and unexpected. This balance and creative expression were only made possible by marrying the right tool—like the iSi Gourmet Whip—and technique, with a deep understanding of science in the kitchen.
That delicious bite, along with a few others that evening, drew me to join Heston Blumenthal and his team at the Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen. For five years we challenged ourselves to create unexpected and memorable moments for diners (like the one I had), drawing the very most out of our techniques and tools, and often inventing brand new ones.
It was during my tenure that Heston partnered with the BBC to film the television show In Search of Perfection, where we were further challenged to apply our modernist approach to classic British dishes that could be prepared at home. For months, we went back to the drawing board on humble dishes like a simple roast chicken and bangers and mash, seeking to not only elevate them, but to make these reimagined versions accessible to the everyday cook. It was an amazing experience, and one that again changed the course of my career.
For the first time, I saw the potential for our work in the Experimental Kitchen to reach many more than the 42 diners served each night at The Fat Duck. I saw how the building blocks of a modernist tasting menu could also be used to make a Sunday family meal easier and more delicious. And that tools like an iSi Gourmet Whip belong as much in a home kitchen as in a Michelin-starred one.
This experience ultimately led me to found ChefSteps, where we seek to inspire creativity and confidence in the kitchen for cooks of every skill level. We develop easy-to-follow content ranging from bite-sized videos to comprehensive online courses that teach new tools, techniques, and kitchen hacks. For me, one of the most rewarding parts of our work is when we can use a few simple tricks, creative approaches, and some basic science to demystify a tool like the iSI Gourmet Whip—in fact we created a whole online course to do just that. We use iSI Whippers every day to experiment with new textures, create beautiful foam garnishes, and perfectly bubbly cocktails. But I most enjoy showing our community the unexpected ways that iSi Whippers can make a classic dish simpler and more delicious, like in these recipes we developed for In Search of Perfection:
Our easy instant hollandaise recipe reimagines the breakfast staple. Hollandaise is a lovely, unctuous, and notoriously fickle mother sauce that traditionally demands such artistry and precision that it has been compared to a Bach Fugue. In our version we let sous vide cooking and an iSI Gourmet Whip take care of the exact temperatures and perfect emulsification needed, leading to a lighter (and healthier) hollandaise with hardly any of the guess work.
Fresh Fruit Soda
And of course no meal involving an iSI Whipper would be complete without the perfect bubbly drink pairing. Our fresh fruit soda, made with charges of CO2 rather than the usual N2O, might not be a classic pairing, but it sure tastes good. And most of the time, that’s all that really matters. Cheers.
Chris Young is the CEO and co-founder of ChefSteps, a James Beard award-winning company behind ChefSteps.com and its companion app, which inspire and teach home and professional cooks new techniques and recipes with high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources.
Chris Young is the CEO and co-founder of ChefSteps, a James Beard award-winning company behind ChefSteps.com and its companion app, which inspire and teach home cooks new techniques and recipes with high-quality interactive content, techniques, tools, and resources. Prior to ChefSteps, Young was the principal co-author of the acclaimed and worldwide bestselling six-volume work Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. He was also the founding chef of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen, the secret culinary laboratory behind the innovative dishes served at one of the best restaurants in the world.