Mad Scientists Get Molecular With TV's 'Future Food'

Sometimes called "Molecular Gastronomy," "Post Modern Cuisine" or "Culinology", proponents of this type of meal preparation deconstruct food and put it back together -- or masterfully transform never-considered-edible product found in nature into haute cuisine fare.

Changing the way people think about their food is a challenge epicureans Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche are up for. Now on the TV network Planet Green, a new "foodie" show titled, Future Food is redefining the nature of meal planning.

Future Food TV showFuture Food TV show
Hailing from the world-famous Moto restaurant in Chicago, each week, Cantu, Roche and their molecular posse take on unique food challenges a la Top Chef.  Similarly these two celebrated futurists find new ways to put a gastronomical spin on their gourmet creations.  According to 'Team Planet Green' Future Food unveils "what goes on inside the lab, letting viewers follow along through the circus of trial and error that is as funny as it is intense."

"I first try to imagine a reality that is positive and then work backwards through scientific reasoning and emotion through food to capture viewers' attention in order to create more awareness around social responsibility and true sustainability," said Homaro Cantu. "Oh yah, I like to have one hell of a good time while this all happens."

One of the basic tenets of these star chefs' wizardry is creating what they call "replica foods" or food made from local, vegetable-based ingredients that can replace the ills of modern food production - without compromising the taste. According to Cantu and Roche, "there's no law that says you cannot eat your front lawn," and to prove it they raked up some maple leaves and found a way to distill them into a synthetic wine.

When questioned about creating seafood without fish, the Moto chefs invented a "Frozen Watermelon Sashimi," where the raw fish flavor was derived from watermelon, Nori, sesame seeds, Togarashi, Wasabi, pickled ginger, Envision, liquid nitrogen and soy sauce. (sound appetizing? here's the recipe).

Frozen Watermelon SashimiFrozen Watermelon Sashimi

Eat TrashEat TrashIn another revelation, the chefs put a spin on food that you'd normally put straight in the garbage. Since food waste in the US is approximately 27% of all edible food, the cost to not only manufacture this food, but also to dispose of the waste is costing us billions of dollars every year. To counter this trend, the chefs continually come up with new ideas to create a more sustainable way of living. A quick tip from Future Food is to keep a "stock bag" in your freezer for vegetable trimmings such as celery leaves, fennel tops, leek greens, asparagus ends, parsley stems, etc -- and when it's full  and you have a little spare time, dump the contents of the bag into a pot and simmer it for vegetable stock.

Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn who describes himself as both a "hedonism evangelist" and a "barbecue whisperer" writes for the Huffington Post. In one of his recent food critiques, he describes the work of Cantu and Roche as,"Funny Food." Funny because it is both weird and because it makes you laugh. And who can complain about food that makes you laugh?" He's got a point - but who would have thought when taking chemistry in high school that one day it would make it to your dining room table, and not only taste good, but also make you chuckle.

If you missed the series starring Chicago's Chef Homaro Cantu and his kemosabee, Pastry Chef Ben Roche, Planet Green plans to run a marathon on the cable network on Sunday from 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m, ET. Four episodes can be seen back to back on May 16. But also check your TV listings for future airings.