Gastronomy is constantly evolving, and it is important that the best eateries stay ahead of the game. So-called 'molecular gastronomy' made its way into the public consciousness aided by the likes of home-grown Heston Blumenthal. Owner of iconic restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, Blumenthal's snail porridge and bacon and egg ice cream epitomised the new heights to which haute cuisine could soar. He famously uses liquid nitrogen and other unorthodox catering equipment to produce his inimitable creations. But Blumenthal was by no means alone in this culinary revolution. His peers in the art include the elusive genius Ferran Adria, chef of the super modernist El Bulli in Barcelona, Spain and Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se in the US. The kitchens in Keller's restaurants feature an interesting addition to the catering equipment: they are connected via a real-time video feed on a television screen. Just in case the French-influenced menu was not modern enough. All of these restaurants have been voted among the best in the world, which is not mean feat in the sometimes cutthroat world of gastronomy. Harold McGee is the writer whose book On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen has provided these and so many other chefs with the technical understanding they needed to help them create their dishes in the first place. The first edition of this seminal book appeared in 1984, and it gradually became a standard reference book for food lovers and professional chefs worldwide for an understanding of where our food comes from, what exactly they're made of, and how cooking transforms them into something new. It has certainly contributed to the rise of the modern experimental approach to cooking exemplified by Blumenthal, Adria and Keller. McGee wrote in his column The Curious Cook: 'I wrote it to translate technical food science into cook-friendly kitchen science, something that had not yet been done in a systematic, comprehensive way.' He has certainly succeeded in doing that. For its twentieth anniversary in 2004, McGee prepared a new, fully revised and updated edition of the book in which he almost completely rewrote the text, expanded it by two thirds, and commissioned over 100 new illustrations. If you are a chef or proprietor of a restaurant and would like to investigate the idea of practising molecular gastronomy, you will need to acquire the right equipment. A specialist website like Russums will be able to help you; not only do they stock all the catering equipment that you need, but they have a specific section dedicated to molecular gastronomy.