“Culinary Vaporization” – two words that sound super odd together. But trust me, it’s the latest thing. Chefs across the country are using a method of vaporization to infuse aromas into food. Don’t worry, I thought it was bizarre when I first heard about it as well.
Turns out flavor is a combination of taste AND smell. We know this to be true because when we have a cold, food tastes bland because our sense of smell is wonky. So when you think about creating a dish, you can manipulate the flavor by adjusting the aroma. Molecular gastronomy chefs are using the vapor genie to infuse food grade essential oils to enhance the flavor of their dishes.
What I find most fascinating about this movement is the ability to evoke a desired effect, whether it be a memory, a feeling, or even a season, by simply infusing food with the aroma of something like lavender, citrus, firewood, grass or leather. These brilliant chefs are trying to take your dining experience to a whole different level that will be unique to each diner, even if they order the same dish. Think about it, say two patrons order steak. That steak is infused with citrus peel and firewood. One of those diners might pick up on the firewood and instantly be transported back to their childhood with memories of watching their dad grill steaks over a campfire. The other might pick up on the citrus notes and remember the orange groves they visited once. Both are having steak, and both are enjoying the steak, but the experience of the steak is different. Crazy, right?!
At some point, I’m going to have to pick up one of these awesome vapor genies and play with aroma infusing food and messing with my dinner guests’ heads!