We turned TWO last week! In celebration of our anniversary, we launched a two-night only event called Elements, held on the 20th & 21st September. Inspired by a Netflix documentary called Cooked by Michael Pollan, we wish to highlight the elements of cooking, which relate to the four classical elements: Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. Being an anniversary event, we decided to create a tasting menu featuring 12 of our favorite dishes from the last two years; however, bringing a twist to it by deconstructing those dishes into canapés and introducing molecular gastronomical elements to some of the components.
All cooking is transformation, but of all the methods we call cooking, fermentation is probably the most miraculous and mysterious. And that’s because it doesn’t involve any process of applied heat. This is food and drink made strictly by the actions of bacteria and fungi and microbes; most of which comes from the Earth. Many do not realize but a lot of food that we consume is actually fermented or aged. For example, cheese, ketchup, salami, chocolate, alcohol etc. We brought back the best salad we ever made. The Caesar salad, Beetroot salad, the Tomato salad paired with something light, Billecart Salmon’s Champagne. Our Beetroot salad involves a fermentation process called ‘pickling’, it helps heighten the taste of the beetroot, giving a tingling sensation in your mouth. One of the hardest techniques used in this event was definitely Spherification, creating little spheres that contain liquid component; we needed to understand water and liquid in its molecular structure. Spherification can be found in our Caesar salad, where we turned ricotta cheese into a sphere.
Cooking with Water represents a very big technological advance. This is because you can’t cook with liquids until you have pots that can survive over fire and fire clay pottery doesn’t come to age until about 10,000 years ago. There are many flavors such as herbs and spices, we couldn’t appreciate until we had water to kind of soften them and bring them to life. This is a pretty big deal, as it opens a whole palette of possible flavors. In this course, we presented Salmon, Seafood Croquette and Crab Crostini, paired with Saito Junmai Sake. The techniques used here include dehydration and foam. Dehydration is a technique where water is extracted of the ingredient while still preserving its aroma and taste, some ingredients like fruits and vegetables may be made into crunchy sheets. We dehydrated salmon skin, making it crunchy as a chip, while retaining the saltiness of it. The foaming technique used for the crab crostini is curry flavored. Foam is aerated liquids, and their density depends on the thickness of the liquid and the ratio of liquid to air. When foam is tasted, it is supposed to give you a sense of air, it’s like you’re inhaling something instead of eating but you still can get a strong taste in your mouth.
Fire, is the most basic and fundamental element, it is probably used most by all. Most of us get hungry when we see food cooked over fire as there’s something very primal about it. Fire itself is an interesting Element. When you heat up wood, it volatilizes a variety of compound in the wood. And it is those compounds, as a gas, that actually burns. Smoked food comes from the incomplete combustion of wood gases. Different hardwoods will have a very different combination of compound in them. Some of the same flavor compounds that make their way into the fruit are also present in the wood. If you split fresh cherry wood and smell the core wood, it actually smells like cherries. This is also one of the many reasons we like smoked meat or even meat that is cooked over wood/charcoal. For this course we had the Peri-Peri Chicken, Lamb Rack, and the Wagyu Gyudon, rightfully; this course is paired with red wine by Château Vieux-Rivière.
Of the four elements, Air is the most elusive. It’s because we can’t see it, but we think it’s what makes it special. There’s something very magical about it. In this course we presented our Churros, Lemon Meringue Tart, Carrot Cake, and bringing back our housemade Mulled Wine from last Christmas. The churros is complicatedly shaped, and churros would not be complete without chocolate. This time around, we brought in Tawau Borneo chocolate and topped it off with pure gold flakes. The lemon meringue tart is definitely everyone’s favorite since our opening. We brought back a deconstructed lemon tart, meringue was originally just whisking egg whites and sugar until it achieves soft peak, in this event, we did the same steps but dehydrating it at the end, you’d get the feel of eating cotton candy with it.
This event was to commemorate our second year anniversary, and it still feel surreal for us to see that we’ve come this far. We did a lot of the same things but different. From revisiting the classics to exploring molecular gastronomy, it is definitely a huge leap and effort for our team at Adelphi. We want to sincerely thank those who joined us for this event and hope that you really enjoyed the night. We ask that you expect something even more in the future as it is only the beginning.
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