Crazy? More like crazy like a fox! Michelin star chef Homaro Cantu, renowned for his mad-scientist approach to cooking at his Chicago restaurants Moto (a culinary must if you consider yourself a foodie) and iNG (food tripping with the Miracle Berry, has just published his first cookbook, The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook, with recipes using the natural miracle berry.
Haven't heard of the miracle berry? You aren't alone. However, there is a good chance that this taste-altering pill, also available in powder form and fabricated from a West African berry, could do away with the need for sugar to make things taste sweet and radically change how much sugar we intake... a miracle in and of itself given the mounds of processed sugar Americans ingest.
As a little background, the miracle berry has as its active ingredient a glycoprotein called miraculin, which temporarily inhibits the sour-taste buds and stimulates the sweet-taste receptors, causing sour things to then taste sweet. Want to have lemonade without all the sugar or sugar substitutes in your drink? Suck on the miracle berry, costing around $1.5 each, for about three minutes and then suck on a lemon. Voila! You've just had the sweetest lemonade of your life. Try fresh-squeezed lemon juice on plain yogurt after taking the miracle berry and you will think you are eating lemon custard pie... without all the calories!
(Note to self: Be sure to really give yourself a solid three minutes sucking on the tablet. Do not chew it. Otherwise, you are in for a bit of a smack to the palette.)
Cantu has championed crazy ideas before, so it isn't surprising that this world renowned chef who created the edible menu and a sandwich that looks like a lit cigar with edible ash -- I've had both and highly recommend them! -- is up to new tricks that could turn out to be the real deal. With The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook, Cantu has removed sugar from recipes for breakfast, starters, main courses, side dishes, desserts, cocktails and even frosting (huh?!?), without sacrificing sweetness.
Yet, a Michelin star-earning chef such as Cantu, with an international reputation for unparalleled creativity and gastronomic invention in the kitchen, who is also the Discovery channel TV star of Planet Green's Future Food and the star of his own web series, Cooking Under Pressure, could have long come out with several cookbooks by now. So why is The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook his first?
As chef Cantu explains at the beginning of his book, "The only projects that excite me have to be tied to some aspect of social change. No matter how beautiful, a coffee book doesn't exactly move you to change the way you cook or eat." While Cantu is not a doctor, doesn't claim to be and isn't putting readers on diets, his interest with The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook is to get rid of sugar and fight obesity. No small feat, and it is just like crazy Cantu to go head on to tackle the big issues. Crazy is as crazy does, and that just about sums up Cantu's life. See him here in the video below to understand what I mean.
If you are considering working sugar out of your diet, the The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook might be the perfect way to start the new year. If you prefer to see the mad scientist in flavor tripping action, book a reservation at iNG to get the full gist of culinary creativity without sugar, or you can reserve a spot at MOTO to see where it all began and get a feel for just how mind-bending and forward thinking Cantu really is. Finally, Cantu will be a guest on Fear No ART presents The Dinner Party on February 25th if you want to ask him questions about his culinary quest and talk with the creative genius himself.
Follow Elysabeth Alfano on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DinnerPartyChgo