Jozef Youssef is the Kitchen Theory founder and chef patron. A few years after completing university, Jozef realised his true passion lay in the world of gastronomy. Ever since, he has been on a culinary odyssey to find out about all things related to food and science, multi-sensory experiences, kitchen management and kitchen design, restaurants. Jozef is also the author of ‘Molecular Gastronomy at Home’, a simple introduction to the science behind modernist culinary techniques.
As a London based chef he has had the privilege of working in some of the city’s top restaurants and 5 star deluxe hotels including Helene Darroze at the Connaught (Chef Raphael Francois), The Dorchester Hotel (Chef Brian Hughson), Pearl (Chef Jun Tanaka) and a summer at The Fat Duck.
Kitchen Theory is both an online resource dedicated to all things food science and culture as well as a collaborative project which focuses on the development of multi-sensory and modernist experimental dining events.
Jozef is the creative mastermind and Chef Patron of Kitchen Theory’s experimental dining events which are hosted 10 months of the year. The multi-sensory dining experiences are an extension of Jozef’s research into the fascinating world of Sensory Gastronomy, for which, research is carried out in collaboration with Charles Spence of Oxford University’s Crossmodal Department. Jozef also collaborates with artists, scientists and a group of talented professionals.
- What are the attributes to being a good chef? And then to becoming a famous chef?
Well first of all you have to be a good cook! By this I mean understanding flavour, balance, how to select great ingredients, and then how to use them and bring out their best. Only once you have mastered all this and invested enough time to have developed your own culinary vision and philosophy are you ready to be called a chef. Then once you are a chef you must have the leadership skills which empower you to select and motivate a passionate team. And if you are able to offer something remarkable, a strong reputation follows.
- Tell us about your collaborative work with Chivas 18 Ultimate Cask Collection?
My work with Chivas 18 Ultimate Cask Collection was a fantastic exploration of how one luxurious product can be appreciated when we take the time to be mindful of its wonderful sensory attributes. During our research we found that by altering the sensory and environmental cues we could augment the drinker’s perception of taste, flavour and mouthfeel.
During the multisensory media tasting session in London we guided 30 guests through an experience which demonstrated that exposure to particular aromas could enhance flavours within the Chivas 18 Ultimate Cask Collection liquid, and that textural differences on account of serving temperature and/or glassware can completely change people’s experience of the same drink. Our guests were most surprised by the impact different music had on their perception of taste and flavour; yes it’s true different music will impact how you appreciate your Chivas 18 Ultimate Cask Collection!
- When it comes to whisky and food pairing during a meal, should whisky be served BEFORE the main course, or AFTER the dessert?
Traditionally there are no specific rules on this, however, based on our four course tasting menu for our guests here in London, a good whisky like Chivas 18 Ultimate Cask Collection can be masterfully paired with any course on a menu. However having said that my personal preference would be to enjoy it with a good dessert preferably something with vanilla and caramel to further draw out those wonderful aroma notes in the Chivas 18 Ultimate Cask Collection.
- Food and drink pairing can affect the overall food experience, and there are some classic combinations foodies are familiar with. For example, typically Fish and Chips goes well with a bottle of beer, and steak with wine. Are these pairings the result of cultural preference, or are they ideal pairings for a different reason?
That’s a great question; even though most of these pairings have occurred based on cultural preference I’m sure with the right research we would find that there are numerous shared flavour compounds.
- In your opinion, what was Britain’s best new culinary offering in 2015?
So many new restaurants open here in the UK every year it’s hard to keep up! I was happy to hear the Fat Duck re-opened with good reviews, it may not be an entirely new offering, but its new menu is said to be very innovative, beyond just the great food.
- Do you see any big fine dining trends for 2016?
I think focus on the sensory aspects of dining will grow. More and more chefs, as well as food and drink companies are becoming interested in the sensory characteristics of their dishes and products. Guests too are looking for more than just good food or a Michelin-starred meal. They want to go beyond this and are now looking for a great experience.
They want something which truly engages them and transports them to new places while touching on all their senses. As you can see Chivas Regal is very much ahead of the curve on this; we worked with the team at Chivas Regal to develop a Mindful Guide so their customers can find their perfect sensory way to experience and enjoy the Chivas 18 Ultimate Cask Collection.
Source: NaoRococo and Golin
With special thanks to Chivas and Jozef Youssef.