The week that was (1 October 2015)

Soap box:

Is the “gut brain” the next frontier in gastronomy? The gut is pretty fascinating … it’s nine metres long, has an autonomous brain, has its own language and a whopping 60% of our immune system is concentrated in the gut. Lucky Peach have more here.

Are single-estate spirits the next big thing in alcohol production? Of course we have seen much of this movement in Australia, this UK article also looks at the big kids pretending to be little kids. “Debate has been raging in the spirits industry for some time over what has been seen by many as an appropriation of the “craft” label by heavyweight companies that want to monopolise the market. Arguably the same could now be said to be happening to small single-estate producers.” If you like your craft spirits, check out the Oak Barrel's line-up for their inaugural Craft Spirits Fair here.

Will Hervé This’s note-by-note (NbN) “cooking” change the way we feed the poor (and perhaps ourselves)? Hervé This is a bit of a whacky legend, who gave the world molecular gastronomy and the 65 degree egg, and so I think the NY Times article is worth a read, if only to know what you don’t want. The basic premise is they remove the water from produce to reduce transportation and spoilage issues and then share the powder with the world. Using the compounds you can then recreate the dish note by note (as with a musical composition). It sounds ridiculous, but Gagnaire, three-star chef and long time co-conspirator, has already featured one such dish on his menu.  

Massimo Bottura has a different solution for a similar problem. The Refettoria Ambrosiano is a charity initiative created in conjunction with the Milan Expo 2015. The refectory is designed to use the waste from the expo to feed the poor and needy across the other side of town. Unsurprisingly, given the immense respect afforded to him by the industry, Bottura has encouraged some of the world’s best chefs to help him out. “Chefs don’t need to rush to have the best caviar, the best truffle. Emotions can be transferred from a crust of Parmigiano and leftover bread. Foraging for new ingredients is not important,” Bottura says. “Foraging for ideas, this is important.” Read this article about the concept and then check out #refettorioambrosiano on the gram for an understanding of how it played out.

- Of course, we have solutions here too. If you do want a Good Food Month suggestion consider booking into one of the OzHarvest dinners. The money from each place booked (in some rather delightful restaurants) means 400 meals for Sydney's vulnerable. 

- Finally, on a lighter note, lovers of barbecue will like this little swing around the fourteen different styles of the USA bbq. One for the trivia files …