Food Biophysics

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 246–254 | Cite as

Molecular Gastronomy: A Food Fad or an Interface for Science-based Cooking?

  • Erik van der LindenEmail author
  • David Julian McClements
  • Job Ubbink
Special Issue Article


A review is given over the field of molecular gastronomy and its relation to science and cooking. We begin with a brief history of the field of molecular gastronomy, the definition of the term itself, and the current controversy surrounding this term. We then highlight the distinction between molecular gastronomy and science-based cooking, and we discuss both the similarities and the distinctions between science and cooking. In particular, we highlight the fact that the kitchen serves as an ideal place to foster interactions between scientists and chefs that lead to benefits for the general public in the form of novel and high-quality foods. On the one hand, it can facilitate the implementation of new ideas and recipes in restaurants. On the other hand, it challenges scientists to apply their fundamental scientific understanding to the complexities of cooking, and it challenges them to expand the scientific understanding of many chemical and physical mechanisms beyond the common mass-produced food products. In addition, molecular gastronomy forms an ideal base to educate the general public about the basic principles of science and cooking and how they can be utilized to improve the awareness of the role of food and nutrition for the quality of life.


Molecular gastronomy Science-based cooking Experimental cuisine Quality of life 



We thank all presenters and participants of the session on Molecular Gastronomy held during the Second International Symposium on Delivery of Functionality in Complex Food Systems (University of Massachusetts at Amherst, October 8–10, 2007) for their contributions and for the open and stimulating round-table discussion. J.U. would like to thank Cesar Vega for the close collaboration on the science of food and cooking.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erik van der Linden
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Julian McClements
    • 2
  • Job Ubbink
    • 3
  1. 1.Food Physics Group, Department Agro-Technology and Food SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Biopolymers and Colloids Research Laboratory, Department of Food ScienceUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  3. 3.Nestlé Research CenterLausanneSwitzerland

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