By Marilyn Kitzes
James Briscione is not only the first-ever two-time champion of Food Network’s Chopped, a restaurateur, and a four-time author. He’s also the director of culinary research at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), one of the world’s largest cooking schools. Back in 2012, IBM approached Briscione to work on a creative cooking project with Watson, their famed supercomputer.
The project was simple: The chefs at ICE created dishes based on uncommon food combinations Watson predicted would taste good. Many experiments later, this work led the science-curious Briscione to further investigate how rarely paired foods—with complementary aromatic compounds—can create fantastic flavor. The result is The Flavor Matrix.
The book includes 150 popular ingredients with flavor combinations that have been scientifically proven to create extraordinary results. These surprise pairings make up a sampling of the 60 “flavor matrices” (with accompanying recipes) you’ll find in this unusual book. Recipes include Black Tea Tomato Sauce; Truffle-Roasted Beet Salad; Sweet Pea, Pork, and Coconut Tacos; and Porcini, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Torte.
More than a cookbook, The Flavor Matrix is a great choice for those who want to strengthen their understanding of ingredients, texture, and flavor. In addition to unique recipes and beautiful photography, the book distills complex chemistry into simple visual charts that cooks can use to push the envelope in the kitchen. You can read more about author James Briscione and his perspective on science and cooking in a recent interview the multi-hyphenate gave to Sous-Vide.
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