I am presently taking a degree in Culinary Arts and I have several subjects, from Chemistry to Physiology and some of the thins Hervé mentions in this book are an excellent explanation to what a student is learning, or how to combine science with cookery, by making a possible bridge. Every chemistry student knows what an emulsion is, or what a colloid is, but being able to apply everything in cooking is the hard part that this book (as well as the other I mentioned) is trying to do, and has accomplished very well. Some topics approached by Hervé This are common with the book Heston Blumenthal wrote, "Kitchen Chemistry". And if Heston believes in the information provided by Herve, who am I to say otherwise? Yet again, Hervé This is the founding father of Molecular Gastronomy, so he has years of experimentation on this subject. This is really a great book, and I believe that sooner or later we will have another volume to this edition, as Hervé poses some questions in the end of the book that are/were still unanswered.
As the title of my review says, this is a reasonable book about the science of FRENCH cooking. At first I was a little disappointed with it, it wasn't quite what I wanted somehow. This's technical explanations are a little too technical sometimes, but he usually recovers this at the end of each section with a one-line summary of the basic principle. Gradually it grew on me as I went through and similar ideas were repeated, thereby reinforcing the basic messages of the book.
It does seem to over-focus on French cooking, it's like nobody cooks anything else. But, nevertheless it does cover the basics of kitchen science and should help the average home cook improve their cooking technique for whatever they are cooking. There's nothing over-fancy like making ice-cream with dry ice in here, so it's all perfectly relevant for the average person cooking at home.
For a serious student of the new science of cooking there is no substitute for McGee on Food and Cooking. Hervey This is without doubt a master in the laboratory, an erratic cook by all accounts, but confuses the didactic lecture with writing an intelligible readable book. Moreover his pervasive pompous manner suggests that he gives no credit to his readers' intelligence and is not adverse to showing off. Some of the information is useful but there is nothing remarkable in either his insights or conclusions.