Looking to the Future at Le Bec-Fin (Of All Places)

With the Philadelphia Science Festival currently in town and getting everyone freaked-up with its heavy food components (Miracle Berries and Geek Booze and nanotechnological noses), everyone has got food and technology on their minds. Or if not everyone, at least all those who care as much about looking forward, gastronomically speaking, as they do about glancing wistfully back over their shoulders.

And while the Philly Science Festival might be pulling up stakes and skipping town come April 28th, I just got word that there’ll be one more super-cool and geek-heavy event happening the week after in which one of the least likely locations in the city will be turned into a (highly temporary) bastion of cutting-edge cuisine. Can you guess which restaurant I’m talking about?

Okay, so I guess the big Le Bec-Fin sign at the top of this post was probably a dead giveaway, but yes: On Monday, May 2nd Le Bec-Fin will be hosting two classes by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot–the two mad scientists behind the blog, book and culinary consulting operation known as Ideas In Food. The first, entitled Fun With Hydrocolloids! (okay, not really), will run from 10am to 12:30 and deal with colloid particle dispersion in water and sauce viscosity. The second is called Meat Glue And You! (again, I’m totally making that up), will run from 1:30 ’til 4pm and teach attendees everything they ever wanted to know about working with ACTIVA–which is totally not that yogurt that makes you poop yourself, but a transglutaminase used by food wizards to stick foods together. Kamozawa and Talbot have used the stuff before for making gnocchi without flour and udon noodles out of mozzarella. I would use it for making a stylish hat out of pork chops to wear whenever forced to dine at vegetarian restaurants. But god only knows what they’ll have in store for this new class.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about hydrocolloids and meat glue, classes are $100 per class, per person, and you can secure yourself a spot by calling Le Bec-Fin at 215-567-1000.

But what if you’re less interested in personally wrangling your colloids and gluing your meat than you are with tasting the results of these same tricks being performed by professionals? Well then it’s a good thing that Kamozawa and Talbot are sticking around for an extra day, bringing all their toys into Le Bec’s kitchen and cooking a special menu on Tuesday night alongside exec chef Nicholas Elmi. Seatings are being done between 5:30pm and 6:15pm, reservations are absolutely required (same number as above), and the menu will feature such diversions as smoked trout roe with caramelized white chocolate, New Jersey fluke with chive blossoms, and sea urchin pasta with bone marrow and ramps–all coming out of a kitchen better known for its foie gras terrine and escargots, where a coffee gelee is about as weird as things get.

The price tag for the nine-course Tuesday dinner is $95 and seating is limited, so if you’re interested in seeing (and tasting) this strange collision of tradition and modernity up close, I suggest making that call today.