The present and future of cooking according to Martin Lippo

He has been called a culinary wizard, kitchen engineer, cutting edge chef, maverick and even MacGyver.

What Martin Lippo does is always revolutionary and challenges the convention. Like turning a margherita pizza to dust to give a different and fun experience of eating a pizza. The deconstructed pizza - done using keropok - has all the flavours of the classic, in a crunchy, sandy form served out of a paper cone, like kacang putih.

Give him any obscure cooking tool and he will find new uses for it. Like the pie tee mould to make a crisp-fried pie tee shell. He dips it in ice-cold water and then an agar-agar solution to instantly form colourful jelly moulds - that's genius.

Around Lippo, you understand that the mind is one of the most powerful tools you can have in the kitchen. The above are examples of how he applies his techniques to the Malaysian context, using local tools and ingredients.

The new age culinary consultant and trainer is based in Barcelona, Spain, the hotbed of avant garde cooking now, where he has a new culinary atelier, Vakuum.

Photo: The Star/ANN

Previously, Lippo was with the company 100 per cent Chef, which creates innovative equipment for chefs such as Ferran Adria. In six months, they came out with 49 different tools - enough to keep them busy with marketing for many years.

What's trending now in the culinary capitals is conceptual cooking, rather than a particular technique or recipe, says Lippo. This could be "presenting nature in a dish". Chefs want to not only give you food, but food for thought, and even to play games with you.

"Food deconstruction" is a well known example where you take a traditional recipe that everyone knows and create a new one based on it, giving the components a different texture.

"When you see the plate, you don't recognise the original dish, but when you eat it, you are transported straight to the dish." Or it could be the other way around.

Of all the cooking techniques trending now, vacuum-pack cooking, or sous vide, has found the widest application. It instantly improves the quality of your food, whether you are doing traditional or modern cuisine.

Sous vide accounts for some of the most amazing textures and tastes that you find on plates - not to mention colour and aesthetics.

"I would say every professional kitchen in Europe is cooking sous vide now. Even at home, many people are doing it. Books have appeared not just for professionals but amateurs.

"In the last 10 years, every hotel chain understood the advantages of cooking sous vide; it is the most important technique a chef can have today to organise his work. It has become an indispensable part of the mise en place.

"We must remember sous vide is not a new technique; it was created in 1970, so now we have got 45 years of expertise in it."

What of the future of sous vide? "Chefs are now working on pickles, compression of flavours inside other products, and creating new textures using the vacuum machine but without the bags."

Using the vaccum pack machine without the plastic bags? I can't wait to see that!

Martin Lippo will be in Kuala Lumpur for two series of workshops from May 25 to 30: 'Vacuum Pack Cooking' and 'New Cooking Techniques and Technologies'. To register call 03-2026 9188 or e-mail: professional@htcinasia.com