Kleinman learned some of his new tricks from the same El Bulli cookbooks that I raved about five months ago ("Cook's Shelf," January 4). "I pick one recipe a day," he told me. On the regular menu, his smoked sturgeon served with a green-apple-and-onion salad, dressed with carrot and cardamom caviar, is a trick straight out of Adria's playbook, with cardamom-spiced carrot juice mixed with alginate and dripped with an eyedropper into a bath of calcium chloride to form tiny caviar pearls. Other inspirations came from a two-week stint down in Fort Lauderdale, where the Starwood chain (which owns the Westin Westminster) sent Kleinman to help with the opening of the new St. Regis there.
"This shit was so cool," Kleinman said, describing the tartare app of tomato gelée, cumber gelée, tuna tartare, poached shrimp, micro watercress and sriracha foam. "It was in a small tube about one inch long sitting on a small block of ice. You just pick it up and suck it out. The other dish was deconstructed Coke using liquid nitrogen to make the bubbles."
You, too, can check out Kleinman's weird science at the Westin, where five nights a week at Unwind, Kleinman and his guys give cooking demos for the guests and anyone else who happens to wander by. Right now he's doing oysters — how to shuck 'em, how to eat 'em and what to drink while you're snacking. The Unwind events have been going for the past several months, and Kleinman can't even imagine what he'll be able to do in the future as he becomes more proficient and better versed in the techniques of molecular gastronomy. But in the meantime, he'll be doing liquid-nitrogen demos with the freezy juice that just came in, more tricks with isomalt, more caviar experiments — all the magic and mystery and applied chemistry of the modern kitchen.
Leftovers: For culinary expertise that's a little less Blade Runner than Kleinman's Unwind demos, Yvonne Lo — formerly of the restaurant Y.Lo Epicure in Cherry Creek — is giving Asian fusion cooking classes at the commercial kitchen at 3462 Larimer Street where she now runs her Y.Lo Epicure catering operation. Lo was born and raised in Hong Kong, came to the States about twelve years ago, and has been cooking for more than a decade. "I'm not a chef," she told me, "but I've been in the industry a long time. I'm really concentrating on the food here, not all the fluff around it."
The hook for her classes is that every recipe she uses — from black-pepper beef and Peking duck wraps to candied and caramelized sesame bananas — is constructed from ingredients that can be found in a regular grocery store. "Approachable" is the word Lo uses, describing her food as "American cuisine with an Asian influence." Right now she's offering one class a month, on the second Wednesday, with the next one scheduled for June 13. Details are available at www.yloepicure.com.