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Chef Maximillian Petty Dishes on Molecular Gastronomy

The innovative owner of Eden Hill shares tips and techniques that are easier than you think.

July is a pretty fun month in Seattle, with events ranging from the 4th to Seafair Weekend. In the midst of your summer plans, mark your calendar for the fifth class in our Road to Voracious cooking series. On July 9, we’re honored to work with Chef Maximillian Petty from Eden Hill. He’ll showcase some molecular gastronomy recipes that class attendees can make in their home kitchens!

You opened your own restaurant, Eden Hill, in Queen Anne almost a year ago and you call it Avant Garde, New American. Tell us what that means to you? So we use the term Avant Garde to simply mean different, different foods and flavor combinations, so that people coming to the neighborhood know it’s going to be a little out of the norm. But, also, it’s very emotional cooking, what inspires me daily.

At the restaurant you play with some Modernist Cuisine techniques. Tell us what inspires you to cook that way? We don’t base dishes around science…it’s mostly a way to use scraps. We make a powder because we have leftover orange from a dish. It’s a means to an end, a way to tweak a dish. Science intrigues me, working for Jose Andres in DC…but like a lot of his restaurants you’ll have either traditional, family shared plates or all science, and then you also get to appreciate the beauty of modern, molecular cooking. We like to do a whole spectrum, but not where it’s obnoxious.

Your class at the market will teach folks how to employ some Modernist cooking while staying true to the season and the ingredients of the Pacific Northwest? What are a couple techniques people will learn? I’m going to bring a siphon – a whipped cream charger –and we’re going to make gnocchi out of local carrots. We’ll puree carrots and then add some sodium alginate. Then we’ll put that mixture into a bath of calcium chloride, which reacts by forming a shell around the outside, kind of like an egg yolk. Then you hand cut them into the dumpling form. They’re creamy in the middle, with a pop of crunch on the outside.

Can you give us some more sneak peeks as to what will be on the menu? We’ll probably pair the carrot gnocchi with a simple sauté of fava beans with crème fraiche and some fresh lemon drizzled on top. I’m going to teach them how make crème fraiche too.

Participants will walk the market with you to shop for the ingredients. Tell us about some of the places you like to visit? There’s one guy I always go to, Sosio’s. They have a good range. Instead of just green asparagus, they have white and purple. It’s all great, but they just stand out. There’s always a lot of info about the stuff, where it’s coming from, what’s so great about that peach. I can appreciate that.

When you’re not shopping for work or classes, tell us your favorite place to get a snack in the market? I really would have to say, those donuts. I have an addiction. When I was living in Oregon and visiting family out here, I’d get about four dozen and take them back to Eugene. They are undeniably amazing.

What is the single most important thing people will learn in your class? As well as making crème fraiche, we’ll make curtido, Spanish sauerkraut. This is curtido we make by the gallon in fermentation jars. I’ll bring a jar for everyone to take home. It’s about the appreciation for the simplest form of cooking, as well as for Modernist techniques. Throwing something in salt and leaving it is something people have been doing for hundreds of years. It’s very hands-on, and it’ll go with them home. I think that’s why people want to go out to eat, they want to take something with them that’s more than just a full belly.

Join us on the Road to Voracious, once a month at Pike Place Market’s Atrium Kitchen. Space is limited, so grab your ticket here.

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