Whether you love or hate the over-the-top concoctions that marry cuisine and lab experiments, molecular gastronomy may not even be healthy. In his new book, The Kitchen Laid Bare, renowned Catalan chef Santi Santamaría criticizes molecular gastronomy for not only being pretentious, but posing public health concerns. A proponent for natural ingredients, Santamaría compares using synthetic products to "an athlete who dopes."

He's had no problem singling out Ferran Adrià, the man behind Michelin-starred El Bulli, where the menu has included liquid ham croquette, passion fruit caviar, and a range of flavored foams. Adrià responded, asserting that all amounts have been approved by EU standards, and that additives only make up 0.1 percent of his cooking.

This isn't an argument between traditional and modern cooking, Santamaría stresses. This is a war between the natural and the artificial, and the public should have a right to know what they're consuming. Adriá believes there are bigger health issues out there, which is probably true; foamed beetroot isn't high up on the list of the world's health problems.

Previously: Spanish Chefs Go Cabeza a Cabeza


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