Tasty Science: Aki and Alex of Ideas in Food


Porkbelly: Watermelon, Avocado Marble

Not many food bloggers find themselves working in close collaboration with high-profile, push-the-envelope chefs like David Chang, Wylie Dusfrene, and Sean Brock. But Aki and Alex aren’t just any bloggers. Consider them a two-person culinary think tank.

Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot are the couple behind Ideas in Food. Their first book, Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work published in 2010 (their second book just came out last month) was 320 pages. No pictures.


While that may sound intimidating, Aki and Alex are, at heart, cooks. Take a look at their site, which won this year’s Saveur magazine award for Best Culinary Science Blog. Yes, there is science and chemistry involved. But you’ll find it’s all in service of good food brought to you in a real, accessible way. It’s friendly, approachable science; science you’re encouraged to use.

From a 2010 Q&A with Aki and Alex in the NY Times:

Are there any examples of classic dishes that defy the logic of science in the book? Exceptions to the rule?

AT: Take a look at the risotto recipe. By isolating the starch in the risotto, you boil it for seven minutes instead of cooking it for 23. You hydrate the starch and then cool it down so it retrogrades and it can never be released from the rice. Each grain remains individual and you end up with a beautiful risotto. We first cook the rice in a water bath at 65˚C (149˚F) for 30 minutes, and then you can rinse it off and use it when you want. This is incredible risotto … you’re hydrating the rice and keeping the starch at bay.

AK: You’re stabilizing the starch.

[Image credit: Ideas in Food]

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