Sites We Love: Ideas in Food

Gorgeous photos? Check. Engaging writing? Check. Seriously inspiring recipes, tips, and culinary curiosity? Check, check, and check. The best food blogs all seem to have a lot in common — but what separates them out are the strong personalities behind them. In our Sites We Love series, we sit down with some of our favorite bloggers to find out how they do it — and why it’s as much fun for them as it is for us.

This week's site we love is Ideas in Food, run by chef-duo Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot, who could be called the mad-scientists of the food blogging world. What started out as a digital notebook that the chefs used to record recipes developed in their professional kitchen has evolved into a diary of adventures in cutting-edge culinary technique that often involve liquid nitrogen, vacuum sealing, and dehydration. Some of the recipes may seem daunting for the home cook, but they always make for a fun read and leave you wondering what crazy experiment the two will cook up next. Here's what Aki and Alex had to say about their site:

Photo: Aki Kamozawa/H. Alexander Talbot

Live since:December 2004
Posting rate: **Generally speaking, 1 per day, 7 days a week, although on rare occasions we miss a day, in which case we usually have a double posting the following day to make up for it.

** Geographic location:**Currently we reside in Levittown, PA.

** Why is the site called Ideas in Food?** The name came about almost serendipitously. We were looking for something to describe what we were planning to be our digital notebook and we came up with Ideas in Food. Since then it has become the description of what the website and our business is all about.

** What's been your most popular post?** Our most viewed post would have to be when we were inspired by a New York Times article by David Leite on the perfect chocolate chip cookie and we vacuum sealed cookie dough to expedite hydration, taking his 36-hour aging/hydration idea down to an almost instantaneous process.

** What's your favorite post?** Today our pick would be an older post that we recently revisited, the photo montage of "Eating Noodles in Tokyo" from a cruise to Japan in 2008. Honestly though our favorite is an ever changing thing. Choosing a favorite post is like choosing a favorite child.

Photo: Aki Kamozawa/H. Alexander Talbot


What's something great that you've learned or that's happened to you since starting your blog? What haven't we learned since starting our blog? The biggest thing we have learned is there is always more to learn. When we put something on the website that interests us or we find interesting it is exciting to see where it goes and how it comes back.

** What's the usual process for developing one of your posts?** An inspirational experience or experiment is usually the catalyst, whether it is discovered while cooking, eating, shopping or just experiencing life. It provokes new questions or thought processes that lead us into the kitchen: cooking, tasting, refining, photographing and then recording the process.

** What are your favorite ingredients and tools? **Favorite ingredients and tools change depending on the day. Currently our pasta extruder from Arcobaleno is an amazing and often used addition to our kitchen. That, the centrifuge and a new juicer are relatively recent additions to our batterie de cuisine that we are playing with at the moment. As for ingredients, yuzu kosho, lovage, and jalapeno seem to be the go to ingredients to add character to a dish right now, while savoring half and half from a local creamery in our carefully procured morning coffee is an indulgence that never gets old.

Photo: Aki Kamozawa/H. Alexander Talbot


What are your favorite food and cooking resources? On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee has long been a trusted resource. We also reference our book, Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work, quite a bit. We put a ton of information, concepts and techniques in there, which thankfully we do not need to keep stored in our heads anymore. Frankly, we have an entire library in the kitchen workshop. We rely on the internet as a good source of information and inspirations, Kitchen Arts & Letters for the latest greatest food books, and Williams-Sonoma and for almost everything else.

** What photography equipment do you use?** Currently we use a Canon T1i, the Canon 60mm macro lens, 24-70mm lens and 25-105mm lens, a Gitzo tri-pod and a few reflective screens/filters.

** Where else can we find your work?** Our book, Ideas in Food, Great Recipes and Why They Work, is available on-line and in bookstores across the country. An older series of food science essays, entitled Kitchen Alchemy, is accessible over at Popular Science online. We contributed an essay to the book, Food and Philosophy, Eat, Think and Be Merry, edited by Fritz Allhof and Dave Monroe. We have an interview and recipe in the book Cooking For Geeks, by Jeff Potter. There are also several mentions of our work in Modernist Cuisine, by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet. This month we have written an article on cooking with carrot tops for Gilt Taste and we are joining the panel of experts in the Food Pickle section of Food 52.

** What food blogs do you follow? ** We follow a ton, from Michael Ruhlman to Michael Laiskonis and from Herbivoracious to Orangette. Our interest covers all aspects of food so there are many wonderful websites to choose from. Our RSS readers display well over a hundred sites and even so we are sure there are still many quality blogs that we have not come across yet.

Do you know a blog or blogger who deserves to be featured in this space? Email a nomination—including a link to the site and a few sentences on why they're worthy of love—

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