Flavour-boosting liquid nitrogen technique comes to North Lincolnshire restaurant
A top chef has started using liquid nitrogen to wow his diners.
Colin McGurran, chef proprietor of Winteringham Fields, saw the remarkable technique in Spain when visiting one of the world’s best restaurants.
Colin spent four days learning from chefs at El Celler de Can Roca in Barcelona, and has brought home a wealth of new ideas.
The most extraordinary is the use of liquid nitrogen, which can be used to boost flavours and enhance particular tastes.
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It is most often used by top chefs to make ice cream because it freezes rapidly.
People have also used it to turn fresh herbs into powder, separate citrus fruits and raspberries into small pieces, and freeze alcohol to make liquid-centred treats.
It is stored in pressurised metal cylinders at -196 degrees Celsius, and staff at Winteringham Fields have been trained to handle it by expert medical practitioners.
Colin said: “It was such an inspirational place to go, and I saw how much they use liquid nitrogen in their cooking.
“I have since started using it in my restaurant, and it has been exciting to experiment with what it can do.
“We are able to make unbelievably smooth ice cream within five minutes, and now have the ability to delay certain tastes being released.
“A person might not get a certain taste until the liquid nitrogen dissolves in their mouth, when they get a strong hit from a particular ingredient.
“Using liquid nitrogen allows us to create an unpredictable and exciting experience for every diner. I am a firm believer that all your senses should be wowed by good food, and using this ingredient allows us to achieve that.”
The 50 litre cylinders cost £2,500 each, with the restaurant currently going through one a week while it is testing new recipes.
Liquid nitrogen is now being used by top chefs such as Heston Blumenthal.
But this revolutionary style of cooking is not risk-free, with liquid nitrogen known to be a very dangerous substance.
It boils at -196C, and can cause rapid freezing when it comes into contact with living tissue.
Colin said: “Liquid nitrogen can be deadly, and we are all extremely careful when dealing with it.
“If it were to leak in an enclosed space, it would draw all the oxygen from the air and replace it with nitrogen, which would be fatal.
“If it comes into contact with bare skin, it will leave a horrific burn, and a drop in the eye could easily blind someone.
“We have a strict set of health and safety guidelines, and the medical practitioners who provide the substance have shown us how to properly handle it.”