Who’s threatening us now: Homaro Cantu

Homaro Cantu, the Chicago chef who writes his menu on edible paper and bakes his bread inside out with a laser, is now turning his lasers on something else: wine. Roll the tape from the current Wired magazine:

Carmelized Wine
Mixologist: Homaro Cantu
1 vanilla bean
6 oz. red wine

Clamp vanilla bean below inverted wine glass. Heat bean with a class-IV laser until mist coats the inside of the glass. Remove bean, flip glass, fill with wine, and serve.

I dispute this. It’s really much better with a class-II laser.

Actually, this 30-year-old chef at Moto restaurant and practitioner of “molecular gastronomy” has pushed his wine too far (but at least he’s not using hazelnuts). If he needs to enhance his wine, maybe he should simply try other, better wine? And make it one aged in American oak, which imparts his desired vanilla notes. Would Homaro add vanilla aromas to enhance any “red wine” from Beaujolais to Barolo?

Keep your laser away from my wine glass! We’re putting you on notice, Homaro!

Who’s threatening us now: robots!” [Dr. V]
Who’s threatening us now: cider!” [Dr. V]

UPDATE: Read about my encounter with Chef Homaro Cantu and his laser beams

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11 Responses to “Who’s threatening us now: Homaro Cantu”

  1. Drink better wine. Feh. Of course, but that would just be too easy, wouldn’t it? You simpletons always go for elegant, simple answers. But what fun are those, huh? Huh?


  2. Hi Pim,

    Hysterical! Thanks for the humor.

  3. Maybe, next year Homaro Canto will creates wine glasses with an oak bough in the middle of the cup.

    regards from germany


  4. Welcome to the new post modern movement. Dont knock it til you try it. Thats responsible journalism.

  5. Homaro,


    Hey, I’m willing to try anything–once. The main obstacles standing between me and your laser beams and vanilla beans are a plane ticket, $160 per person, plus wine, plus tax plus tip.

    But putting these material considerations aside, could you provide us an explanation here of how the bean smoke enhances red wine? And which reds fare best with that treatment? Because you endorse and promote this unusual practice, I would appreciate your articulation of how it actually improves wine in your view rather than simply calling it “new postmodern.”

  6. I’ll second the questions asked. In all seriousness, Chef Cantu would be well-served to articulate the effect of this science experiment on wine. If you’re effectively flavoring the wine with vanilla, why not use a simpler technique? Why not simply use an atomizer and some vanilla essence? Or heat the vanilla bean and stir it around the wine? How does the laser help?

    Just saying it’s po-mo is like saying “I said so.” Not very instructive.

    I’m genuinely curious. What’s the payoff?

  7. Utilizing pure light does not add nor take away any artificial or natural aromatic characteristics of the item being “caramelaserized”. Another advantage is low energy consumption per glass altered and the pinpoint energy and directional control of a laser. A water based vapor would impart a different mouthfeel into the glass as well as implement bitter qualities. Also, I can impart qualities not associated with edible foodstuffs, like laserizing real leather into a glass of scotch. Now you can allow your imagination to run wild with descriptive characteristics because they are now a more robust reality, not just a subtlety.

  8. Just add a little vanilla extract to cheap red wine to make it palatable…..seriously.

    Haven’t tried it with white yet.

  9. The idea makes sense to me (and back in 2005 I posted a note on improving wine with vanilla at egullet). One could think that the laser is added mainly for special effects, but the high temperature will set of a number of reactions, including the Maillard reactions. For the the average home cook however, I’d stick with pure vanilla extract!

  10. […] recently put Chef Homaro Cantu “on notice” for his wine service recipe published in Wired magazine. In brief, the avant-garde chef suggested […]

  11. Check this out buddy:


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