What is the difference between enabling the Maillard reaction on the surface of a beef disc and browning a burger? Technically, its nothing with only the word choice differentiating the two. This is where defining molecular gastronomy (or any other food trend or style) gets difficult due to overlap with previous knowledge. Molecular gastronomy is defined by it’s creator Herve This as the “chemistry and physics behind the preparation of any dish”. This definition is appropriately vague and does very little to set distinct boundaries for the movement. Something like The Food Lab could fit under this definition despite its role as a home cooking advice column.
For the purposes of clarity in this project, I am limiting molecular gastronomy to dishes using physics and chemistry techniques (and ingredients) unavailable to the home cook. An example would be the Modernist cuisine burger which requires liquid nitrogen and 36 hours of preparation. Molecular gastronomy is a science meant to be new and unusual to the diner (unlike the science of cooking), adding complexity to the dining experience.