For the Times food columnist J. Kenji López-Alt, the kitchen is also a lab, where an understanding of a few basics at the molecular level can make a difference in your next dish.
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J. Kenji López-Alt, a food columnist for The New York Times, approaches home cooking like a scientist. He explains the basic elements of food like proteins and fat and examines what happens to them on a molecular level during cooking — all in the name of making the best scrambled eggs, the best burger or a perfectly light schnitzel (the secret is vodka, among other things). He is also a James Beard award-winning cookbook author with a popular YouTube channel. Here, he talks about the influences that shaped his cooking, how he views science in the context of food and what he makes at home. This interview has been edited.
I try to explain the science and technique behind home cooking. My thought is always that understanding science can help you become better at something. For example, I grew up playing music and understanding scales can help you be a better musician.