In 9 courses
6XC started out in 2013 as a blog (on a different site) about modern cooking techniques and food-related science that could translate to domestic cooking or at least inform it. Two examples are sous-vide cooking (temperature-controlled waterbath) and spherification (encapsulation in a gel).
The story that follows is a menu in which some courses incorporated these newer techniques and methods. Others are just novel ideas (but not mine, sources acknowledged).
This is from the archive — it’s an old post that I didn’t initially port across to the present Medium site, partly because the quality of the images was compromised by practicalities, and some of the plating was rushed (as I was the only person cooking and serving). However, the description of the courses may interest some readers…
1. The Arpège egg
The renowned French chef Alain Passard created one of his simplest yet most famous dishes from an egg in an eggshell. Its success comes from its elegance and flavour balance, and belies its apparent simplicity. The name comes from his restaurant — L’Arpège.
An egg is topped and its contents removed. The membrane is removed. The yolk is separated and returned to the cleaned shell.
The shell and yolk are carefully floated in a water bath (80C) for 75–90s to warm the yolk. The yolk lowers the centre of gravity and the shells stay upright.
The warmed yolk is topped with chives, sea salt and ground ginger, then covered with a whipped sherry cream (it’s over whipped in the picture). Finally, a few drops of maple syrup are added. These combinations are an adaption, and a homage, by David Kinch.
2. Watermelon tartare
Compression and dehydration can completely change the texture of plant matter. In this case, watermelon was brined then vacuum-compressed to expel air in the cells. It was then dehydrated to achieve a meaty texture and finally recompressed with a little water to adjust hydration. It was diced and combined with chopped nuts and spring onions.
Served with a parmesan crisp and dressed with balsamic/EVOO. Finally, the plate was sprayed with balsamic vinegar, and some drops of fig-balsamic added.
[Adapted from Antoni Luis Aduriz]
3. BLT consommé
A version of bacon, lettuce and tomato flavours as a soup. Pancetta was browned and cooked with water in a pressure cooker, strained, cooled, fat removed and the stock reserved with a few drops of liquid smoke. Tomatoes were frozen, chopped and thawed in the fridge over a muslin-lined strainer to catch the tomato water (allow several days). Kale was juiced. All three combined. Flavours remained separate and distinguishable.
[Adapted from chefsteps.com]
Chicken liver pâté (flavoured with white port, madeira and calvados) spread in a thin square layer on a small (8cm) bathroom tile. It was camouflaged with earth-coloured powders: Steamed, dehydrated and ground celeriac and parsnip; blanched, dehydrated and ground herbs (mint, parsley, basil); ground dried porcine mushrooms; burnt vegetable ash; muscovado sugar and spices (cinnamon, star anise, pepper, juniper berries).
An explosion of flavours.
[ Massimo Bottura]
5. Crispy mussel tumbleweed
Veal belly cooked sous vide (80C 10h) and shredded. Veal belly is naturally fibrous (as is pork belly), but lean. The fibres are deep fried and assembled in a loose ball (tumbleweed). Cooked mussels are combined with tarragon and blended, while oil is added in a thin stream to make an emulsion. The emulsion is piped into the ball.
6. Crayfish with scrambled egg
Buttery, creamy sous vide scrambled eggs are light and an excellent match for crayfish (also cooked sous vide). The unavailability of roe led to mussel juice (left over from the cooked mussels in the previous course) being spherified to resemble roe (sitting on top of the egg). The crayfish head, browned with a little tomato paste and pressure cooked with ginger and spring onions, comprised the bisque. Served with black salt and kaffir lime shreds.
Successful flavours but an epic plating failure.
7. Fillet of venison with dates
Pressure cooked sherry, water and dates — strained; Sous vide venison fillet (52C 1h); buttery garlic endive; fermented black garlic; dates; fried thyme. Perhaps the most conventional course.
[Adapted from David Kinch]
8. Green tea air
Coconut cream fluid gel (coconut cream set with gelatine then pureed) with compressed and diced mango covered in a matcha (green tea powder) foam with mint. Sweet potato leather and mascarpone biscuit on the side.
[Adapted from chefsteps.com]
9. Quail eggs
The last course was an apparently raw quail egg. In reality, the yolk was spherified passionfruit juice and the white was thickened lemon/lime juice. Serving in the shell amplified the illusion.
Still convincingly egg-like when tipped onto a spoon (the passionfruit yolk releases its contents when broken):
Refreshing flavours to end the meal — just as it was started, with an egg in an eggshell.