When we got to Atlanta in December, one of the first things Savory did was join a science meet-up group. We’ve gone to science trivia and a couple of lectures at bars (I know, we’re hard core.), but as a guy with a Ph.D. in physics and a gal with a food blog, we were especially excited when they held an event a few weeks ago titled “The Physics of Cooking.” So cool, right?!
I was pretty stoked when we walked into the lecture hall at Georgia Tech and they had a whole lab table set up next to the podium–but just about went into complete freak-out mode when the emcee casually mentioned that, along with two physicists from Harvard, José Freaking Andrés was presenting!
I was first introduced to JFA when I received his tapas cookbook as a gift. Dudes, the tapas in that cookbook are beyond legit. His flan recipe is the best I’ve tasted (close second: the flan from Colombia restaurant in Florida). Best of all, I finally found a recipe for croquetas that truly reminded me of those sauteed pieces of heaven I so frequently enjoyed when I studied abroad in Spain. I make those croquetas once or twice a year, and I am not exaggerating when I say it is a spiritual experience.
So what’s a famous chef doing with some geeky physicists? Turns out, JFA is as passionate about innovation as he is about food. He teamed up with Michael Brenner and David Weitz from Harvard and they put together a class on culinary physics.
For Andrés, the pairing of food and science “opens new highways to creation” in the kitchen. They did some cool experiments with food and talked about the importance of collaboration and reaching beyond the boundaries of your discipline–but what really made the experience unforgettable was JFA himself. I don’t know how to describe it except to say that his storytelling is as delicious as his food; when he speaks you just get entirely engrossed by his absolute passion, a mix of both urgency and joy.
As soon as the presentation was over, I rushed the stage to meet him–the man whose tapas have been a delight to me for years, at whose restaurants I dined at with friends and forced every single one to order the flan for dessert, and whose stories of the next food frontier left me completely entranced. And as I shook his hand with a grin that threatened to devour my entire face I blubbered, “Mucho gusto. Can I get a picture with you?” Then, as I dragged the two professors from Harvard into the photo and Savory snapped the picture, “I have a food blog. You’re going to be famous.”
Really, Gina? I have a food blog?? You’re going to be FAMOUS??? JFA humored me despite what a pompous lunatic I must have looked like, and I could barely contain myself as I literally skipped out of the auditorium and into the street before shouting “OHMYGOSH I GOT A PICTURE WITH TWO PHYSICISTS AND JOSEFREAKINGANDRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”