Testicles and 1000-year-old eggs: pleasure researcher Thomas Vilgis doesn't shy away from anything in the kitchen - almost nothing


Testicles and 1000-year-old eggs: pleasure researcher Thomas Vilgis doesn't shy away from anything in the kitchen - almost nothing

Mr. Vilgis, do you have a bad stomach? (laughs) Yes, that's true in a way. I am an omnivore. So you can say that. You must have it too. Her job is to experiment with food. They are physicists, research in the field of soft matter and also call themselves pleasure researchers. What is it that you look for in the kitchen? It's all about taste. You have to differentiate between my work in the laboratory and the cooking at home. In the laboratory we have special equipment that looks closely at aromas, structures and materials. I also incorporate this knowledge of biology, chemistry and physics at home. Nevertheless, what I do in my private kitchen and also in my new book is of course something completely different. It is said that you shy away from almost nothing in your kitchen. What is that supposed to mean? I taste everything that is edible. If it looks good, smells good and has good structure, I have no concerns.

Really everything? Yes. Even testicles. I shied away from that for a long time. Until I tried them on an organic farm in France. I also eat 1000-year-old Chinese eggs, although they taste a bit strange. I don't even shy away from imitation vegetable shrimp. And they really don't have a good structure. I would even eat meat from the printer or lab meat if it were ever available. Just...Well, is there anything that spoils your appetite? These meat alternatives made from various plant substances, I wouldn't eat them in large quantities. They are too highly processed for me.

In your book you write that one result of pleasure research will be “less is more”. What do you mean? You don't need the spice orgy. This often even takes away the flavor of the products and overshadows it. It doesn't take much to extract new flavors from food. An example: Camembert. I get it wrapped in foil from the organic farmer, so it goes into the fridge. I leave it there for two years. So well beyond the stated minimum shelf life. You have no idea what flavors come out. The anchovy oil that is left in the can is great for pasta e olio and the beetroot peels, sprinkled with a little sugar, become wonderful chips in the oven. So you follow the concept "Leaf to Root" and "Nose to Tail" – use as much as possible and waste nothing? Sure, I could also put the shells in the compost and the separated meat in the bin. But why? When it comes to vegetables, I would perhaps be happy about more soil, but the animal has already died for me, so I can please use all of it as much as possible. I would eat the bones too. But they are too hard even for me. In your book you also invite people to try freestyle cooking. Encourage you to improvise. In your recipes you combine the ingredients in quite unusual ways. The vanilla goes with the red cabbage and the coffee goes with the carrot. Hand on heart: How often do your toenails curl when tasting their new creations? Rarely. That hasn't happened in a really long time. But I also have a flavor guide in my head and know what harmonizes with each other and how. But with a little sensitivity, everything can actually be combined with each other. You just have to be careful with the dosages and not overdo it.

Is the style of cooking that you present in your book suitable for everyday use? All of these dishes can be made in a normal kitchen; you don't need a laboratory with any expensive technical equipment. Four hotplates, perhaps an oven and the usual kitchen utensils. These are dishes that I cook regularly in the evenings when I get home from work. This happens very quickly. I can even give a small guarantee that the recipes will work. All dishes were recreated for the pictures in the book. During this time I haven't received a single call with an inquiry. So everything worked out! That's what you say. The dishes in your book look like little works of art. To be honest, it doesn't look like that in my house either. Plating is one of my weak points in the kitchen. Therefore: Don't be put off!