Neurogastronomy – A New Approach to Healthy Eating?


Photo by Lorelle Del Matto

Not your usual article about a New York restaurant opening, Cerebral Palate by Katy McLaughlin  in the Wall Street Journal Magazine June 2011  describes the philosophy of chef-neurologist Miguel Sánchez Romera who served her an entire meal consisting solely of creatively flavored waters.  The meal of exotic waters such as “coconut, garlic, ginger and truffles”  left her feeling satisfied as if she’d eating a repast of solid foods.  The point Romera explained was to show the mental process of eating; the flavored waters trick the satiety system in the hypothalamus by engaging the olfactory system and taste buds.  Could this be the next weight loss strategy? 

His restaurant, Romera New York, will open in June, serving only a 12-course $245 tasting menu.  Sounds like a lot of food but from the description of the chef’s lighter touch, you can pour yourself into a little black dress and not split the seams over dinner.  Chef Romera stays true to his medical training and Hippocratic Oath by tantalizing diners without excesses of fat, sodium and alcohol.  His signature ingredient is a neutral tasting fat substitute/thickener of his own invention, cassavia, made from yucca root. 

Romera does not classify his cooking as a form of molecular gastronomy, often served cold, or Modernist cuisine.  As McLauglin clarifies “Romera aims for food that teases the intellect and aesthetic sense without sacrificing the primal urge for hot, amber-colored meats and brilliant colors as found in nature.”

I’ll be fattening my piggy bank daily to save for a visit to this unique restaurant on my next trip to New York.

lorelle About lorelle

Crazy about cooking, eating and sharing good food – my work and leisure revolve around the kitchen. As a culinary dietitian my professional life encompasses nutrition counseling and education, recipe development, product development, food and nutrition writing, marketing communications, corporate test kitchen and consumer affairs management, food styling and work as a product spokesperson.

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