At the end of the 20th century, but specially all through this 21st century, there has been a real movement of culinary innovation based on science and technology. Classic methods have been modified with the introduction in the kitchen of aspects more akin to science laboratories—such as the precision in the measurement of masses, volumes, temperatures and timings, or the control of operational parameters—, specific research projects have been developed, and the results of those projects have been published and disseminated.
The Science and Cooking World Congress Barcelona 2019 establishes the Sferic Awards, an annual scientific recognition to culinary techniques which have contributed or have the potential to contribute to scientific innovation.
The Awards are related to the development of the Science and Cooking concept, which includes three independent but corelated factors:
- The application of scientific knowledge to culinary innovation.
- The use of science as a means for culinary innovation.
- The use of culinary practice as an educational tool to explain science.
The Science & Cooking World announces the annual Sferic Awards, which intend to recognize culinary creations including a scientific innovation component in the field cooking and restaurant patisserie in the 21st century.
The recognition can be awarded to any creation abiding by the following conditions:
The innovation component is related to the use of a technique, a utensil, a tool or a product which causes a physical or chemical modification.
The innovation has an international impact in the field of cooking or restaurant patisserie.
The innovation is applied regularly in the menu of a restaurant open to the public.
The innovative method is used in elements edible in isolation, or used extensibly in the making of a whole dish.
The innovation is healthy, sustainable and ethically responsible.
The election of awarded innovations will correspond to a scientific jury formed by the members of the Science & Cooking World Commission, together with international scientific advisers. In case of a tied vote, the president of the SCWC will be given a quality vote in a second vote.
The awards will be given by a majority of votes, there can be ex aequo prizes, and the awards can be declared null and void.
The formal proposal of candidatures to the award by individuals or organisations outside of the jury is not contemplated.
In the first edition of the Sferic Awards innovations made at any point in the 21st century can be awarded.
The award will be given to the team responsible for the innovation.
The awardees will receive a Sferic Award and a certificate stating the jury’s decision.
Announcement and presentation
The recipients of the award will be announced on March 14 every year, to commemorate the speech “The physicist in the kitchen”, given on this date in 1969 by the physicist Nicholas Kurti. The date of the presentation of the awards will depend on the events programmed for that specific year.
Exceptionally, in 2019 the awards will be presented on Wednesday, March 6th, during the closing of the Science and Cooking World Congress Barcelona 2019.
Members of the science & cooking world commission
- Physicist at the University of Parma, expert in science and gastronomy.
- Biochemist, expert in molecular gastronomy and hygiene assessment.
- Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Barcelona, Science and Cooking disseminator.
- Chemist and President of the Science & Cooking World Congress, as Jury President.
Consulting: Luciana Bianchi.
Support and sponsorship
2002 Award to the innovation in the application of texturizers, specially of gellan gum, and in the optimization of the application technique of liquid nitrogen, developed at the restaurant Fat Duck by the team lead by Heston Blumenthal.
2003 Award to the innovation in the application of the controlled gellification called sferification and in the introduction of special foams called airs, developed at the restaurant El Bulli by the team lead by Ferran Adrià.
2004 Award to the innovation in the application of distillation and in the evolution of the concept sous vide, developed at the restaurant El Celler de Can Roca by the team lead by the Roca brothers.
2005 Award to the innovation in the application of controlled and extensible gellification (reverse Sferification) and in the introduction of the production of lyophilized products in cooking, developed at the restaurant El Bulli by the team lead by Ferran Adrià.
2007 Award to the innovation in the optimization of the application of edible paper and in the gasification of products, developed at the restaurant Moto by the team lead by Homaro Cantu.