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INICON

Introduction of innovative technologies in modern gastronomy for the modernisation of cooking

 
Funding: Innovation and SME in the 5th EU-Research Framework
Project Duration: 01.01.2003 - 31.12.2005
Project Manager: Claudia Krines
Homepage: www.inicon.net

Restaurants are deeply anchored in one country’s culture, and tradition is given a great importance in the art of cooking. Nevertheless, tradition does not mean working only with ancestral recipes and methods some of them providing dubious or possible false advice.

Yet, the most famous Chefs are those, who have managed to combine traditional recipes and know-how with creativity and modernity. Currently, the technological evolution in the field of traditional cooking is still slow; whereas access to science and technology can bring new tools and increase the innovation potential of gastronomy. This has been highlighted by a particular branch of food science, the Molecular Gastronomy.

The INICON project has met this need for modernisation and innovation in order to demonstrate and to establish knowledge and know-how transfer from science to the art of cooking: with Molecular Gastronomy at its core, the project has combined state-of-the-art in science and technology with a traditional handicraft field, which is yet rather characterised by arts, intuition and selftuition.

Four Chefs from El Bulli (Spain), the Fat Duck (UK), Grashoff (Germany) and Au Crocodile (France) and the renown culinary school ESCF Ferrandi (France) have been working together with food industry representatives, Alpha-Tec (plant manufacturer, Germany), Cosmos Aromática (flavour manufacturer, Spain) and Iberagar (natural hydrocolloid manufacturer, Portugal), with scientific support from the Molecular Gastronomy Group INRA (France) and ttz Bremerhaven (Germany). This consortium has realised successfully cross-sectoral sharing of experiences and practices.

The INICON project has delivered

  • a study on gastronomy problems and limitations and Chefs’ requirements for technology transfer (incl. compilation and assessment of ideas for technology transfer); 
  •  a technology transfer model between science/education, industry and handicraft gastronomy and product development process scheme between those partners, together with supporting overview and guidance information for the targeted audience to enter themselves into transfer and co-operations;
  • an online technology transfer facility, discussion and “market place” for innovative cooking and food and research concepts (incl. communication channels and INICON knowledge base);
  • a set of technology transfer tools at the core of the INICON knowledge base, comprising
  • a manual and thesaurus on Molecular Gastronomy (incl. small trials, practical problems etc.),
  • an information tool on equipment-related topics (laboratory, industrial, culinary equipment),
  • an information tool on texture-related topics (incl. guidance, innovative and traditional recipes),
  • an information tool on flavour-related topics (incl. guidance, background and application ideas);
  • the INICON prototype: a handy kitchen apparatus with superior emulsifying performance.

The INICON results and experiences have been placed online on www.inicon.net to enhance learning and technology transfer for the gastronomy sector and potential collaborators. The facility will be run further after project termination and also all INICON participants are willing to enter into further technology transfer co-operations with new partners and/or share their experiences with interested parties. For a tangible insight into innovative cooking and collaboration, the established network can either be contacted, emerging seminars and events can be visited or the new approach can be simply tasted in the partner restaurants and delicatessen products.