Dinner's served!

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 


Tutors: Mahsa Ghasemi, Jonathan Piard, Stéphane Salamone, Rasta Ghasemi, Maud Gayral/ chemists

Project manager: Stéphane Coulaud


At the end of the year, a complete meal had to be served and graded by a jury. But the pupils' culinary creations were far from ordinary: cauliflower beads, iceberg tomatoes or liquid upside down tart. They used cooking not only to discover and interpret chemical principles, but to demonstrate their inventiveness and explore an infinite range of substances, their transformations and their properties. 

What is molecular cuisine and who invented it?
The tutor started a discussion with the pupils about molecular cuisine; he explained how this branch of science helps us understand physical and chemical reactions that occur when food is processed.

Gels and emulsions
The pupils learnt the principles of an emulsion by making mayonnaise, the principles of a gel by making fruit spaghetti and vinegar beads, and the principles of a mousse through chocolate mousse. Each notion was analysed to help them understand the principles at work.

Final recipes
In the third phase, the pupils invented original recipes using the principles they had studied. Mozzarella mousse, jellied tomato juice and vinegar beads, avocado mayonnaise and strawberry emulsion, and an egg cooked at 65°C were just some of the recipes used in the final session.

Publication of a 32-page photo magazine, À table !, in a print run of 2500, distributed in all participating schools and to chemistry and gastronomy professionals.
The photos illustrated the physical and chemical principles used during the workshops. As well as applying the principles behind mousses, gels, and emulsions, the pupils had to prepare a complete meal: a tomato-mozzarella surprise, balsamic vinegar beads, a perfect egg (65°C egg), cabbage delicacies; avocado mayonnaise and strawberry sauce.

On the Menu:
Tomato-mozzarella surprise: a tomato filled with foamy mozzarella, like a milkshake, and decorated with spaghetti made from jellied tomato liquid. The mozzarella is 'seasoned' with balsamic vinegar beads which release sweet and sour notes when bitten. A green basil emulsion adds a fresh, herby note.
Egg yolk poached at 65° C, presented like a quenelle, red cabbage juice. Here the pupils worked with the soft rich texture of the egg, obtained by cooking at a precise temperature, in contrast with 'lamb's lettuce' made from cabbage juice jellied with agar-agar. A contrast in colour as well as texture: the glossy yellow of the egg against the purple red of the jellied cabbage juice, sprinkled with a few grains of sea salt for crunchiness.
Slightly sweetened avocado mayonnaise, floating on a pool of strawberry emulsion. The oil in the avocado and the egg yolk combine and thicken like mayonnaise. The pinch of sugar takes the edge off the recipe and balances the acidity and sweetness of the strawberries.  


Outings (selection):

Participating schools :
- Class (6th), Collège Jacques-Prévert, Noisy-le-Sec
- Class (5th), Collège Marais-de-Villiers, Montreuil
- Class (4th) SEGPA, Collège Pablo-Neruda, Aulnay-sous-Bois
- Class (3rd), Collège Robert-Doisneau, Clichy-sous-Bois
- Class (3rd), Collège Honoré-de-Balzac, Neuilly-sur-Marne
- Class (3rd), Collège Saint-Exupéry, Noisy-le-Grand

Graphic design: ONE MORE STUDIO

Dinner's served!
Dinner's served!
Dinner's served!
Dinner's served!
Dinner's served!
Dinner's served!