In his recent prime-time TV series, In search of perfection, chef Heston Blumenthal has turned to texture analysis with a TA.XTPlus texture analyser to help him perfect classic dishes
With the help of food physicist Malcom Povey, and Stable Micro Systems's TA.XTPlus texture analyser, the popular BBC show recently saw top chef Blumenthal combining science and cookery in order to create the perfect crispy fish batter.
After struggling to produce the ultimate batter - one that hardens on the outside while steaming the fish gently from within - Blumenthal visits Malcolm Povey, professor of Food Physics at Leeds University.
Well-known for his extensive work in food science, Povey pioneers Stable Micro Systems's acoustic envelope detector, which measures the burst of sound generated when food is bitten or snapped.
Utilising this revolutionary instrument along with a TA.XTPlus texture analyser and ball probe, Povey and Blumenthal test batter to identify what constitutes the ideal crispness.
According to the sound pulses measured, the results show that the more bubbles there are in batter, the crispier, and more appealing it will be.
Described as a man who has made cooking a science, Blumenthal's eight-part series reflects his innovative cooking philosophy.
A self-taught chef, his cuisine has earned him three Michelin stars and includes such dishes as snail porridge and bacon and egg ice cream.
Yet, in the BBC Two series, his quest for perfection brings him back to well-loved favourites, such as pizza, roast chicken and fish and chips.
Blumenthal's work with Povey is testament to the wide scope of texture analysis.
Providing essential data on the texture of foods, it is proving to be an invaluable tool in many sectors, enabling scientists, food manufacturers and chefs alike to create perfect foods time after time.