25 May 2009 00:00 [Source: ICB]
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,but at least in the kitchen, it's certainly not easy
IT'S JUST over a year since Swiss firm DSM Nutritional Products launched its ResVida dietary supplement - a high-purity version of the natural ingredient resveratrol. It was six to eight years in the making but the company claims it to be a great success (see nutraceuticals article, page 20).
Resveratrol is found in grapes and is one of the reasons studies claim that quaffing red wine is good for your health. Depending on your viewpoint, the downside is that you'd have to enjoy vast quantities before benefiting from increased life expectancy, greater stamina and a lower risk of diabetes and cancer.
The spoilsports at DSM, however, have been able to enhance the potency of Mother Nature's offering in the lab, and actually improve it - meaning you don't need to drink the required six bottles a day.
Boosted by their efforts, I decided to take a leaf out of their book and turn my hand to imitating and enhancing one of life's great discoveries.
I recently stumbled upon the works of self-proclaimed US food guru Todd Wilbur, who clones food in his "secret laboratory" in Las Vegas, Nevada, US and has sold more than four million copies of his Top Secret Recipes.
Through countless visits to restaurants and fast food outlets, Wilbur ate his way through the many menus and gained inspiration before replicating some of their famous recipes.
He has dedicated 15 years to kitchen cloning and says that The Wall Street Journal places his as the seventh most popular food-related site online. Wilbur says that, with a little hard work, all the recipes from my favorite eateries can easily be replicated.
As I discovered, however, making a perfect clone of the McDonald's Big Mac and its special sauce was a pretty tough task. Sourcing the correct "raw materials" - many of the necessary ingredients are only available in the US - combined with a lot of trial and error proved both grueling and time-consuming.
My efforts at imitation certainly weren't very flattering; the sauce was sickly sweet, strangely crunchy and an unnerving shade of green.
I failed miserably, but my hat goes off to the guys stuck in the labs, who on a daily basis manage to achieve the deliciously impossible.
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