What is a molecular restaurant and what is needed to open it? Let's talk more about the essence of the concept of this business and the experience of famous foreign restaurateurs.
Today, its restaurant business seems a very unpromising business. In any relatively large city there is an institution for any consumer. Cuisines of all the peoples of the world, institutions stylized as epochs, cultures and even artworks; restaurants combine the work of clubs, bars, and coworking. Against the background of all this, it becomes quite difficult to choose your niche. Recently, however, a new fashion trend has appeared, which is practically not widespread in Russia. This is the so-called molecular cuisine.
What is the essence of molecular cuisine
The very definition of “molecular cuisine” does not have any clear boundaries, but conveys a general concept - to consider the process of cooking not from a traditional point of view, but from a scientific point of view. The close concepts of molecular cuisine are the modernist cuisine and the trend towards food sphericalization. Dishes served on the table for the visitor differ significantly in taste and appearance from dishes prepared in a standard way. Due to the small serving sizes, dishes are served in sets of 10-15 dishes. They can take the form of spheres and squares, eggs and shapeless clouds of foam. Moreover, such unusual forms can hide quite ordinary things: for example: meat or melon caviar, or foamy bread, or spherical jelly soup. Agree, that sounds impressive.
The creation of a molecular restaurant or cafe is already a novelty, something that is practically absent on the market. In essence, molecular cuisine is a food arthouse. Not every visitor can appreciate it. Some pioneers note the fact that an unprepared customer is often disappointed in serving a meal: for some, the serving size seems incommensurable with the price. But the food industry does not stand still and we can count on the fact that people will soon, on the contrary, strive to taste just molecular food.
Unlike ordinary food, molecular food is prepared not only with the help of cookery experience and culinary intuition, but also with the use of scientific knowledge. However, do not think that people in white coats and with respirators are engaged in molecular cuisine (although the idea of a dress code for waiters is not bad), synthesizing edible protein from hundreds of reagents. Everything is much simpler. The ingredients for the dishes are standard, only they are subjected to somewhat more technologically advanced processing. The processes are the same: heating, mixing, cooling. However, chefs act as if in the role of experimental scientists, not engaged in cooking, but in the transformation of food. Textures are responsible for the metamorphoses of familiar ingredients - substances that turn products into sculptures. For example, using sodium alginate, liquid products, such as sauces, are transformed into spheres, lecithin can create air mousse from vegetable stew.
From the point of view of the concept, the direction of molecular cuisine was not the development of classical cuisine, but its opposition. The main message to the consumer is that the usual methods of cooking are far from perfect in the cooking process and neutralize many useful elements. The taste and aroma also undergo a great change, which may be distorted or not be as bright as possible. In the molecular kitchen, the elements that make up the product are preserved, so that the true aroma and fullness of taste remain.
Technical equipment of molecular cuisine
The main distinguishing part of the molecular restaurant is the molecular cuisine itself. Let us remind you once again that a kitchen that “works taking into account the laws of physics and chemistry” is not a specific list of equipment that meets any strict format, much depends on a specific idea. Some recipes can be prepared at home without any special automation.
Technically advanced molecular kitchen is equipped not with stoves, gas stoves, refrigerators, juicers, but with real scientific devices (although today there are already special cooking-oriented ones). The acquisition of such equipment requires an impressive investment, which is one of the obstacles to the development of such a business.
Of the existing devices, it is worth noting the following:
Equipment sous-vide (sous-vide) . It is primarily intended to create the same type of dishes prepared in a vacuum. The ingredients for them are packed in special vacuum bags, after which they are placed in a water bath for very long cooking (sometimes several days). The equipment differs in that it allows to improve the process of pickling and preparation in general, without destroying the composition of the cells of the product used.
Submersible thermostat . It is placed in a container with preparing products and heats the water to the exact temperature - the error is up to 0.1 degrees. It can work with a sufficiently large capacity. Cost - from 15 thousand rubles.
Water bath (water oven) . A special device that regulates the temperature, sets the necessary parameters and generally elevates the cooking process to a precisely verified science. They can be of different sizes. Cost - from 10 thousand rubles.
Vacuum packer . Its name completely determines its purpose. It can be used not only in this type of cooking. Cost - from 5 thousand rubles.
Freeze-drying . Allows you to remove water from the contained products and at the same time not to violate their structure, to keep in the best possible condition. Allows you to not lose the aroma and safely restore the product. Cost - from 180 thousand rubles.
Centrifuge Allows you to divide the product into its constituent parts, separate solid, bulk and liquid substances, highlight the essence of the product. Cost - from 300 thousand rubles.
Rotary evaporator . It is bought for accurate and thorough evaporation of liquids in conditions of very low pressure. The result is a fragrant concentrate. Cost - from 200 thousand rubles.
There is more accurate equipment for the transfer of aroma by collecting ether - a rotary vacuum distiller . This setting is better suited to the needs of molecular gastronomy. Cost - from 500 thousand rubles.
Electric stove . It is used for the same purpose as in the usual kitchen, because some methods of cooking or cooking are still borrowed from traditional cuisine. But here you need more precise equipment with point adjustment. Cost - from 20 thousand rubles.
Equipment for instant freezing . Allows you to save the product in its original form for a very long time. Cost - from 100 thousand rubles.
Lyophilizer . It allows for “soft” freezing of foods, which prevents protein denaturation. Cost - from 50 thousand rubles.
Thermomixer . It makes it possible to grind and mix products with constant heating. At the same time, technically, it allows you to add new components according to the recipe, that is, not immediately, but already in the cooking process. Equipped with weights that, up to a gram (and even more accurately) determine the mass. Cost - from 50 thousand rubles.
Pacojet . It is used to create mashed potatoes from very frozen foods. Cost - from 200 thousand rubles.
This is the largest and most basic equipment, but its purchase is indispensable. To prepare molecular dishes, you should buy many more smaller devices. This includes ordinary cooking utensils and accessories. Some other specific devices are also worth mentioning: gas burners, siphons, foamers, electronic scales, thermometers, foam generators, pipettes. Also not to mention the "Stephan-grille" and the cigarette lighter. The first allows you to warm the product at extreme temperatures, and the second - makes it possible to properly present the finished product to the visitor, enveloping him with aroma. As a final tool for the long and rather laborious process of preparing espum (the normal Russian counterpart is foam, although this name may seem unsuitable for esthetic gourmets), there is a kremer. A 3D printer can also serve as a tool close in spirit to molecular cuisine. A few years ago, establishments that cook using 3D technology appeared in some megacities of the planet.
You should also purchase supplies and the ingredients themselves. And if the second is familiar products to everyone, the first is chemical compounds, emulsions, concentrates and extracts. The most important of them are dry ice (it is also carbon dioxide CO2 in the solid state), liquid nitrogen (nitrous oxide, N2O), transglutaminases, lecithins. Everything else is purchased depending on the intended dishes; but these same components are purchased for the vast majority.
Room and molecular restaurant concept
The search for premises can also be a very lengthy task, because you need to find the right one in the central areas of the city or in areas of recreation for the population. Perhaps the main criterion is high traffic. The size directly depends on how many people are planned to serve, that is, you need to determine the maximum workload of your restaurant. For such an atypical, unusual type of business, starting with the opening of a very large restaurant is not worth it, at first you can focus on 20 seats. This format, of course, is more like a cafe, but the definition of the word “restaurant” according to state standards and in the minds of the population is significantly different, so today many restaurants call themselves restaurants.
The approximate area of the room is 200 m2, approximately the same area should be in the kitchen and the hall, but we should not forget about the technical, office premises, as well as the bathroom (for all - about 30 m2). The rental price is unlikely to be less than a hundred thousand rubles, in large cities, depending on location, it is several times more.
An important point is the work of the designer. Without a personal project, the institution will not be in demand, because it is very important for a restaurant to have a recognizable interior, the correct internal layout, proper layout and functionality.
How to decorate the molecular restaurant restaurant
In fact, you have two design options:
Just like other restaurants. Some existing restaurants of molecular cuisine recreate the atmosphere of a familiar restaurant in the hall - this is quiet comfort without a hint of science or futurism. This is done, first of all, so that the client has the feeling that he is in an ordinary restaurant. Some restaurateurs even specifically use this contrast of the familiar atmosphere and non-standard dishes.
The format of the restaurant of the future. The second option is to consider the idea of creating a special “restaurant of the future”, given that such topics are practically never used anywhere, and the specialty of the dishes has such an atmosphere. These are perhaps the two most promising options for interior decoration, but there are no restrictions on the design project. The cost of designer services is approximately 1000 rubles per square meter, but this will not be a detailed study, but a simple preliminary sketch, a full-fledged work will cost more.
Since the main difference will be exactly in the kitchen, for the rest of the service, tables, sofas and chairs will still be needed; cash registers, cashless payment devices, furniture for staff; arrangement of technical premises and a sanitary unit. In the hall, unobtrusive music should preferably be played as a background, serving as a simple background (the so-called ambient), which requires audio equipment, speakers and computers. In many ways, such a restaurant remains a restaurant. Before the opening, it is worth considering in detail the question of not only the food itself, but also the atmosphere.
Molecular Restaurant Staff
At the moment, it’s quite difficult to find professionals specializing in molecular cuisine, in Russia they are practically nonexistent. Therefore, if an entrepreneur himself is a culinary specialist and will take on the duties of a chef, he will have to study a lot of information about cooking this type of dishes, try to cook them for his own use, and after that teach other people who will become the first employees this art. .
In this direction of cooking, it is not necessary to be a professional chef. Moreover, it can even be harmful, because such a person is too accustomed to classical cooking, and it will be quite difficult for him to come up with something new in a different type of gastronomy. Therefore, earn the name of both the restaurateur and the chef can people who in ordinary cooking are unlikely to succeed. The main thing is to study science, in addition to cooking, and have a craving for experimentation. The stakes in this business are high. Molecular cuisine requires high precision and great attention to detail, because a mistake in the proportions of a couple of grams can ruin the dish.
Experiments in molecular cuisine begin at home, conjuring with sets of textures, and using measuring spoons, syringes, pipettes, scales and molds for cooling. Many "witchcraft" tricks can be spied on YouTube.
Such a new project will surely attract its customers, but still the marketing campaign should be developed and very active. First of all, it is necessary to attract restaurant critics who will evaluate the institution and food, then give their feedback, and given the really good taste qualities of molecular food, you can count on positive criticism. Based on this, you can advertise the institution already in the city, and advertising on local television and radio can also be effective.
For obvious reasons, at first the establishment will probably be oriented towards people no lower than the middle class, but being the first in the market to raise prices is a completely justified step. Some overseas molecular cuisine restaurants per set may bill several thousand euros. The risks of such a project are certainly high. Such an unusual kind of food may not find its adherents. However, the opening of such a restaurant can set the fashion and lead to the emergence of competitors.
Legal side of business
From a legal point of view, there is no difference between ordinary and molecular cuisines, so registration will take place as a decoration for a familiar catering establishment. This is one of the most difficult moments in organizing such a business. To work, you need to correctly determine the OKVED codes, and there may be several (and even should) be several, because a separate code is indicated, for example, for the sale of alcoholic beverages. It all depends on the concept of the institution and the preferences of the organizers, but the activity itself falls under definition 56.10 “Restaurant activities and food delivery services”. To register restaurants, they usually choose LLC, since it is necessary to obtain a license for the sale of alcohol. Read more about the documentation for the restaurant here.
Examples of molecular restaurants
Abroad, the idea of molecular restaurants is no longer news. About one of these restaurants called Moto, which opened in Chicago, we wrote back in 2010. It is believed that the first experimenters in the field of molecular cuisine were the chefs of the Catalan restaurant El Bulli and the English restaurant Fat Duck - Ferrand Adria and Heston Blumenthal. Both of their restaurants received three Michelin stars, were recognized as the best in the world, and can serve as reference models for observing the principles of molecular cuisine. In principle, looking at the list of the best restaurants in the world, it is easy to see that the concepts of many of them are built specifically on molecular cuisine.
For example, the Fat Duck restaurant, located in the village of Bray in the suburbs of London, has an extremely modest and even deceptive interior and exterior, looking at which you can’t think that people from all over the world come to this place. The reason for the popularity is the work of the master of molecular cuisine Heston Blumenthal and his assistants. The Fat Duck Restaurant has 42 seats for visitors and 42 cooks: one for each client. The kitchen never stops here, and table reservations are made 2-3 months before the visit.
The main idea of the chef is to combine incompatible ingredients, tastes and smells that do not combine with each other. Just read this menu: smoked bacon with ice cream, white chocolate with caviar, oatmeal with snails, pseudo-turtle soup, meat fruits, triple chips, pigeon with pistachios in pistachio sauce, red-orange jelly, in which red is orange, and orange - beets ... Near the Fat Duck restaurant there is a real laboratory: over the past two decades, Blumenthal has developed hundreds of new cooking methods and continues to amaze the world with its creations.
Технологии технологиями, но одним из способов выделиться среди ресторанов будущего - это комбинировать новые способы приготовления еды с традициями национальной кухни. По этому пути пошел ресторан Mugaritz, находящийся в небольшой деревушке Сан-Себастьян в Испании. В его основании принимал участие уже упомянутый шеф-повар ресторана El Bulli Фернан Андрия. Сейчас рестораном Mugaritz руководит не менее известный шеф-повар Андони Луис Андруиз, который привнес в меню ресторана свое понимание молекулярной кухни с учетом традиций испанской кухни. По его мнению, испанская кухня стала популярной в мире именно потому, что она является очень авангардной и оригинальной.
Фишкой Mugaritz считается так называемая “теплая кухня” с ограниченным использованием соли или же с полным отказом от нее. Андони Луис Андруиз считает, что таким образом сохраняется особый подлинный вкус продуктов: более тонкий, насыщенный и изящный. Благодаря же инновациям повар придает новые вкусы уже известным продуктам. В ресторане Mugaritz подают охлажденный суп из овощей с креветками и пряными травами; кальмара в красном вине; картофель с овощным углем и омлетом, жареную иберийскую свинину в карри, суп из одуванчиков, приправленный поджаренным папоротником и сеном творог из овечьего молока, фиалковое мороженое с марципановой стружкой и персиковый суп с миндальной эссенцией и многое другое.
Разумеется, молекулярная еда должна быть не только вкусной и состоять из необычных ингредиентов, но и быть привлекательной на вид, внешне напоминая произведения искусства. Это требование идеально ложится в общемировой тренд приоритета упаковки и визуального образа над внутренним содеражанием: удачная фуд-фотография сегодня не менее важна, чем само блюдо. К созданию идеальных блюд-картин стремятся многие повара мира, и колумбийский ресторан молекулярной кухни ElCielo Restaurant из Боготы один из тому ярких примеров. В его меню можно найти не просто блюда, а произведения искусства ручной работы, которую курирует шеф-повар Хуан Мануэль Барриентос Валенсия.
Заведение специализируется на местных и свежих блюдах, включая знаменитый севиче из гребешка. Благодаря таким элементам, как сухой лед, каждый из пунктов меню ресторана ElCielo бросает вызов традициям и выглядит эффектно.
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