Ali Bouzari is here to talk about food and the way we think about it, and he’s incredibly qualified to do so. As a chef and culinary scientist (literally, he has a PhD in Food Biochemistry), Ali knows exactly how food works and why. Companies and culinary programs all over the world consult with him to find the best ways to make new and innovative foods.
Ali Bouzari on the Science of Food
I met Ali Bouzari at a conference, and I’ll admit at first I didn’t fully appreciate what he meant by “food science.”
Ali sees any recipe from two sides. On the one hand he’s a chef who appreciates crispy bacon, creamy dressing, or a perfectly seared steak. On the other hand he’s a scientist who sees all food as a sum of 8 Ingredients: Water, Sugars, Carbs, Lipids, Proteins, Minerals, Gases, and Heat.
Understand each of these players, he says, and you will know how to create with food like never before.
His presentation on the 8 Ingredients fascinated me that day, and I’ve started to use what he taught me in the way I approach cooking at home. Thankfully he wrote an amazing book about it in a way that’s accessible to the home cook. It’s called Ingredient: Unveiling the Essential Elements of Food and it’s like a comic book meets cookbook … even my kids love it and get a lot out of it!
So, let’s see what’s cooking!
In This Episode You’ll Learn
- how to see everyday foods through a scientific lens and make them work for you in the kitchen
- why Ivy League schools and the Culinary Institute of America turn to Ali Bouzari for the latest food ideas
- the science of what makes ingredients burn, emulsify, whip, crunch, wilt, and more
- how you can learn to control your ingredients like a chef
- the psychology of how we evaluate and appreciate the food we eat
- alternative, natural ways to preserve or alter mass-market food … and whether Ali thinks these methods are better
- when mass-market food production became a reality, and why (it’s fascinating!)
- some of the clients Ali has helped over the years, and the stories behind the products they created
- a different take on nitrates, carrageenan, phosphates, and other infamous food additives
- the encouraging percentage of Ali’s clients who want to bring real food ingredients to the mass market
- new frontiers in food: how culinary scientists discover new ingredients (little “i”) and new ways to use them
- why Ali thinks sugar doesn’t totally deserve the bad rap it gets (I’m interested to hear this one!)
- and more!
Resources We Mention
Special Thanks to Today’s Sponsors
This episode is brought to you by The Good Kitchen. Have you ever wished you could have delicious and healthy meals on the table in mere minutes? The Good Kitchen answers that problem. And they don’t just send you the ingredients like some delivery services. They send you fully prepared, chef-quality meals (including healthy school lunches) right to your door. Their meats are grass-fed and pastured and they use freshly sourced produce as well. You can check them out at wellnessmama.com/go/goodkitchen.
This episode is also brought to you by Primal Kitchen. (We just have all the good kitchens today!) My friend, Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple founded it and The Primal Kitchen is now my source for some of my favorite kitchen staples. I made my own mayo for years and years since storebought options were full of vegetable oils, but Primal Kitchen completely changed the game with their products. If you haven’t tried their delicious avocado oil mayo (especially the chipotle mayo!) you are seriously missing out. You can check them out at primalblueprint.com and if you use the code WELLNESSMAMA you get 10% off any order.