One of the philosophical divides between raw milk enthusiasts and the regulatory crowd has been how they view bacteria and other microbes. Are they seen strictly as pathogens to be controlled, killed and removed from food, or can they be a value added probiotic? For some perspective on that debate, here’s a story about how leading edge restaurants are taking an interest in what microbes can bring to the table, when it comes to new foods and flavours.
From Lindsey J Smith on The Verge.com
“We usually think of bacteria, molds, and fungi as unwelcome visitors in the kitchen, but in restaurants worldwide, chefs–famous and acclaimed ones at that–are using microbes to create new flavors, reveals Nature Microbiology. [paywall]
Arielle Johnson, author of the article and a chemist by training, works with numerous restaurants, including Noma in Copenhagen, which is famous for its exclusive use of Scandinavian ingredients. Like Momofuku, Bar Tartine, Husk, and many other progressive restaurants across the world, Noma uses science to discover new flavors. Johnson’s current focus is fermentation.
Fermentation is the process through which bacteria and fungi take ingredients like regular tea (kombucha), boring barley (beer), or plain ol’ milk (c’mon we don’t need to explain this one) and biochemically transform them into more flavorful foods. Although it’s becoming part of haute cuisine, it’s nothing new. For thousands of years
, fermentation has been a key way of preserving raw food.