Food writing has changed a lot in the last few years. Its focus has shifted to an almost philosophical arena where any recipe can be dissected for the broader, global meaning of its constituent ingredients. The source of every carrot or celery stalk we eat is inexorably combined with issues of nutrition and environmental sustainability. This not only comes with a huge environmental cost, but consequently buries the flavors of food. Dan Barber is increasingly becoming known as a chef-thinker, popularizing simple ideas that upend the way people think about the food we eat. As the executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester, and Blue Hill in Manhattan, he works with locally grown and produced food every day in the kitchen, concentrating simply on flavor.
Chef Dan Barber on his first book, 'The Third Plate'
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Yet it's his focus on cultivating flavor before foodstuffs even reach his kitchen that put him in an unusual setting recently. Trading his chefs whites for a loosened tie and sport coat, Barber stood in the well of a Harvard University science hall, delivering a guest lecture as part of the hottest course on campus this fall: Physical Universe 27, or, "Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science. They've also shown that their cooking, in Adria's case often labeled "molecular gastronomy," can illustrate scientific feats such as spherification, gelation and oxidation. One of Adria's signature dishes is warm — but, seemingly miraculously, not melted — ice cream. His trick is the additive methylcellulose, a gum which solidifies when it warms rather than cools. The goal is to teach science in a new and interesting ways, part of the university's effort to revamp its general education offerings.
Chef Dan Barber pioneers ethical approach to creating flavor but may prickle some purists
Card must be on file to unlock early access. During their limited time residencies, visiting chefs will collaborate with Stone Barns farmers and Blue Hill cooks to present a menu that interprets and reimagines the farm — and the landscape of the Hudson Valley — through the lens of their own cuisine and personal history. Celebrate these Chefs-in-Residence with an extensive dining experience on their final day of residency.
He is the author of The Third Plate. He is a graduate of Tufts University, where he received a B. Around , Barber was involved in developing a miniature butternut squash.