Flambé? Touché! Kevin Sbraga Schools Schwartz on the Art & Science of Modernist Cuisine

Kev’s new favorite toy, a wheelable liquid nitrogen tank seen here on the floor here at SBRAGA. Tableside freeze action? Yes, please!

Kevin Sbraga is the chef/owner of SBRAGA in Philly where he practices a modern approach to seasonal and ingredient-driven cuisine. This winner of Top Chef: Season 7 and our guest chef tomorrow night at Harry’s May pop-up dinner arrived in Miami yesterday with two cooks, Jocelyn and Jason. They are ready to get cracking on prep for SBRAGA Pizzeria’s family-style menu and will head to the restaurant to begin after finishing lunch with Schwartz at La Camaronera, one of our favorite local seafood joints to share with visitors. (Can I get a doggy bag, please?)

Knowing Michael’s love of foam and other techniques on the more scientific side of cooking, we thought it was the perfect time to set the record straight on this sometimes misunderstood cuisine and find out from a pro what Michael is missing out on. With its most comprehensive manifesto to date taking home 2012 James Beard Awards for “Professional Cooking” and “Cookbook of the Year,” what has been coined molecular gastronomy and put on a pedestal may actually have more in common than meets the eye with the fresh, simple, pure, and down-to-earth approach to food and drink that we know and love here at our restaurants. Read Kevin’s take in his words below, and check out our pop-up series referenced with a quote from Michael in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal at this link.

At one point every cooking technique was modern. So the art of a simple roast over an open fire was a modern technique thousands of years ago.

1. Michael is missing out on the use of tweezers. They allow us to put in an exact place with extraordinary precision.

2. Michael is missing out on low temperature cooking aka sous vide. We cook for to a very precise temperature. There no other technique that can replicate this.

3. Michael is missing out on liquid nitrogen. We just started using nitro at Sbraga. It allows us to incorporate frozen components into a dish in way we could never do before. Check out our frozen yogurt on our new salmon dish.

4. Michael is missing out on some of the old school techniques, like food preservation with a food dehydrator. We can achieve results in a quick and consist manner. Rather than using an oven the food dehydrator gives you better results.

5. Michael is missing out because some of the techniques are just damn cool. End of story.

With all this said, we focus on product first, flavor second, and execution third. If you have less than stellar ingredients, the food will always be less than stellar. If your flavors don’t make sense, your dish won’t either. And with all this technique, if you don’t know how to execute, it will produce bad food.

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