Text Louise Beck Brønnum. Photos Julia Sick. Edited by Michael Bom Frøst
Please welcome our new initiative, which has been in the making for a long time: Monday Aperitivo.
Take an ordinary Monday, the last Monday of the month. Spice it up with concepts such as “Gastrophysics”, “Interdisciplinarity” and well, “aperitifs” and your Monday is not so ordinary anymore. Monday October 30 this year, we introduced, a new concept to facilitate exactly these concepts under the name Monday Aperitivo.
Monday Aperitivo is an informal forum, where persons can address their views with an amount of passion of a specific subject related to food. A forum from where dialogues and discussions between the sciences, craftsmanship and industry take place to stimulate the appetite for progress.
Our plan is to host it the last Monday of the month from 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm, except during holiday periods. It is a ticketed event (tickets at billetto). Guests are invited to listen, comment and learn from invited speakers. There will always be more than one speaker and always from different disciplines.
The goal with making a Monday Aperitivo is creating an inspiring forum, where Nordic Food Lab communicates what we do. Furthermore, the purpose is to connect, inspire, challenge and learn from scientists, chefs, students, food industry and people passionate that are within science and food.
The Debut: Extraction and/or Infusion
Extraction is probably one of the most used methods in the world of food, beverages and gastronomy. Although, we use it every day in the preparation of meals, we do not think about it. From brewing coffee in the morning to making soup for dinner - we do not necessarily put a word on the action of extraction. On the other hand, some experts are well aware of using this method to extract specific compounds from ingredients in the production of food.
But does the use of scientific knowledge about extraction make a difference in the final product? Does it boost or limit creativity? Is it even possible to unlock the key for the perfect extraction method? How can we improve extraction methods by connecting scientific knowledge and cooking? All these and many more questions where discussed answered and enlighten this Monday with the guest speakers; chef Philipp Inreiter from Slurp Ramen Joint, Bartender Geoffrey Canilao and Chris Stewart from Balderdash and gastrophysicist Ole G. Mouritsen.
Our guests were welcomed by Geoffrey and Chris with a cocktail specially designed for the day, made with konbu infused honey, lacto fermented plum juice, gin and bull kelp extractions frozen into ice cubes. A setup of different seaweed extracts was made available as a “dashi” tea to demonstrate as the simplest model of an extraction.
After this welcome, Ole and Philipp invited the guests into the kitchen where pots and ingredients were presented on the table. With the starting point in ramen’s short history (The wheat noodles and the concept of ramen soup was not introduced before post world war II), the base of ramen, dashi, was unfolded.
Ole explained the concept of extracting glutamate and nucleotides in order to create the taste of uami in a dashi. The two types of molecules are prevalent in konbu (glutamate) and in katsuobushi (nucleotides, mainly adenylate). A concept also used – albeit less knowingly - in the western world, with combinations such as tomatoes and anchovies and egg and bacon. Meanwhile, Philipp prepared tastings of different dashis. The classic dashi was based on konbu extraction alone. In the second serving Philipp elaborated on how his take on ramen in a Nordic context where served in Slurp ramen joint using Karl Johan mushrooms and chanterelles. Last but not least, Philipp gave a tasting of a dashi with both konbu and katsuoboshi flakes seasoned with yuzu and a secret sauce based on soya and mirin.
After using time in the kitchen our appetites were stimulated by the wonderful and tasty umami samples and made us ready for another cocktail. Geoffrey and Chris served a mushroom and seaweed infused vermouth with smoked juniper, chocolate and absinthe, while explaining how infusion is used in the bartender’s world of a way to tone down flavours for a perfect balance.
The Kitchen Talks gave an interesting perspective. They showed that the kitchen and bars may have different starting points, but they both use the same method (extraction/infusion) to give a well-balanced flavour that we can enjoy on our plates, in our bowl or glasses.
Cheers and thanks to our three speakers.
We hope see you for our next Monday Aperitivo.
Recipes for some of the served food.
Courteously omitting the trade secret parts of the Slurp ramen and Balderdash recipes.
5 g dried seaweed (we used konbu, dulse, bull kelp, and sugar kelp)
500 mL soft water (still water)
Let the dried seaweed soak 30 minutes in water. Hereafter place water and seaweed in sousvide bags and keep at 60°C for 30 minuttes. Strain the extract from the seaweed.
500 ml of seaweed extract
12.5 g of katsoubushi (preferable freshly shaved)
Add the shaved katsuobushi to the seaweed extract and steep for a 10-15 seconds. Strain the dashi through a colander to remove the extracted katsuobushi flakes.