A Night of USA Rice, Molecular Cuisine with Chef John Placko

Posted on October 28, 2012


When FayeClack Communications Inc. sent me an email to join a night of Molecular Cuisine and a demonstrations on different use of USA Rice, it didn’t take me too long to decide.  You could say the email grabbed me in two levels. The lab geek in me came out peeking and I doubt there would be anyone who knows me who would doubt my love for rice.  I grew up eating rice more than 3 times each time (Yes!  Pinoys eat rice during breakfast too!).  The workshop was held at Nella Cucina test kitchens last Wednesday.

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Coming with my business partner, EyeCandyTO’s Abraham Wornovitzky, we were warmly received and were immediately given some refreshments as we waited for the rest of the invitees.  I have expected that each dish we would enjoy for the night would have a rice component to it and that was literally what we got.  Chef John Placko have masterfully illustrated the different ways by which rice can be used and took it out of the norm.  I must confess, to a Filipino, rice was synonymous to steamed medium-grain rice.  We paired it with a savory dish for main meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner and dry it up or pair it up with coconut milk to make a snack.  I did love rice in any iterations so watching new techniques that I can apply to it would surely be entertaining for me.

As the room filled up with the food bloggers and food writers, Chef John Placko started his workshop with providing a brief explanation of the evolution of molecular cuisine.  The discipline was centered on finding new ways of showcasing flavors the unconventional way, using molecular cuisine techniques to enable a chef to change food’s usual presentation or to concentrate its taste using neutral-tasting carriers.  The most entertaining for me was when he demonstrated the use of his product, Powder for Texture.  The kit contained calcium chloride, easy alginate, 2 serving spoons and a squeeze bottle.  The idea was to create faux caviar by the reaction of the alginate mixture (flavored with coconut milk) with calcium chloride solution.  As I was watching the demo, my lab geek alter ego wanted to come out and play with my own solutions.  LOL.  It was good that we were given our own bring-home Powder for Texture Mix to play at home.  This would sure make my food preps really interesting.

We were given a chance to take part with preparing our food for the night.  The participants were broken into groups of three and as you could see from the slideshow, I was trying to keep up with so many photogenic opportunities all around me.  The list down below was what Chef John Placko has prepared for us to enjoy through the night:

Cold Rice Milk with Coconut Caviar

Rice crisps topped with humus

Goat Cheese with Rice Puffs

Salmon on rice cakes with wasabi dressing and rice-vegetable salad with walnut-infused maltodextrin

Shrimp and scallops on stir-fried vegetables on steamed rice

Sweet Arancini balls with raspberry sauce, carbonated strawberries, rice crisps and candied raspberries triangles

Thank you Chef John Placko and FayeClack Communications for getting us on-site for this workshop.  I have good memories and found new friends from this event.  After this, I am a bigger fan of rice than before, if that were even possible. :)