TOP CHEF – Two months after Dominique Ansel’s participation, it’s chef Mike Bagale’s turn to challenge the “Top Chef” candidates. The inventor of “floating food” is the guest of episode 12 of the show, broadcast this Wednesday, May 4, in the first part of the evening on M6, at 9:10 p.m.
“You have to bluff a chef who bluffs the whole world”, warns Stéphane Rotenberg, presenter of the show, in the extract broadcast on social networks. The candidates will indeed have to redouble their imagination: Mike Bagale’s experimental cuisine impresses. The American chef is notably at the origin of an edible balloon.
“I became a chef because I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to create food that made people think. I wanted to be respected for my creativity,” he explained to the culinary community in 2015. Chef’s Roll. The chef is now exploring his creativity at the head of the culinary consulting company “Super Food Concepts”, after having worked for the prestigious restaurant Alinea.
As a teenager, Mike Bagale did not dream of cooking, but of cinema. “I loved writing, drawing storyboards and making home movies,” he told Forbes, in January 2020. The chef, originally from Texas, is also a graduate of the University of Toronto in cinematographic communication. Returning after his studies in the United States, he found it difficult to find work and ended up applying as a cook at the “Four Season Hotel” in Palm Beach, Florida, where he was hired. This is where the adventure begins.
In an interview at Forbes, Mike Bagale explains how this experience reminded him of his childhood passion for food. “I ate everything, and when we went to the restaurant, I tried to always order something that I had never tasted before,” he confided to the American magazine. In Palm Beach, he ended up as the chef of the hotel complex.
Creator of the edible balloon
In 2009, Mike Bagale joined chef Grant Achatz’s restaurant, Alinea, which specializes in molecular gastronomy. There he invented the edible balloon, his most famous creation. “I wanted to float little edible bubbles, like the ones I had seen in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory“, he revealed to the magazine Forbes. With this helium-inflated green apple-flavored dessert, he became the pioneer of flying food.
“I really like to play with textures, and people who know my cooking know that I try not only to tell a story with the dishes, but also to create textures that are relatively strange,” he continues in Forbes. Mike Bagale is constantly inspired. “Sometimes an aroma alone can inspire an entire dish. Leafing through a comic, painting at home, eating street food in foreign countries, anything and everything makes my mind wander”, he told, this time, to Chef’s Roll.
A cloud of ham and cheese flavor
Nine years later, in 2018, Mike Bagale set himself a new challenge: that of leaving Alinea to launch his culinary consulting company “Super Food Concepts”. “After a few years of cooking professionally, I had kind of lost the desire to show off a tasting menu that I thought that he would blow people away”, he explained to the Design Indaba brand in September 2020. A new way for the chef to experiment, this time collaborating with artists and brands.
Since then, his creations have followed one another and his trials have continued. All are available on his Instagram page or on that of “Super Food Concepts”. Among the most recent: “the delight” with parmesan, “the true taste of the rainbow” with ice cream and coconut yogurt or even Japanese mushrooms to taste like oysters…
The latest creation? A cloud with the taste of Iberian ham and manchego cheese. Perhaps the most impressive, since his edible balloon.
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