Meet Hervé This, French physical chemist who, along with physicist Nicholas Kurti, founded the "Molecular Gastronomy" culinary movement (he wrote the famous book with the same title). Hervé is famous for being the man who could unboil an egg.
His specialism is the science of cooking. For him, every foodstuff is 'a chemical mixture'. 'When aromatic compounds are formed on the surface of a roast,they are the result of a chemical reaction. When mushrooms turn black after being chopped, it is the fruit of a chemical reaction.'
Over the years, his musings on chemical reactions have led to a number of discoveries. He has worked out how to uncook an egg. He has calculated that you can produce 24 litres of mayonnaise with a single yolk. He has invented a Béarnaise sauce by replacing butter with melted chocolate, as well as 'chocolate chantilly' (a form of whipped chocolate prepared in the same way as crème chantilly). He's baked an egg for an hour at 55°C, managing somehow to leave the yolk 'exceptionally smooth and tender'.
Oh, and how do you unboil an egg? Hervé explains:
... when an egg is cooked, the protein molecules unroll themselves, link up and enclose the water molecules. In order to 'uncook' the egg, you need to detach the protein molecules from each other. By adding a product like sodium borohydride, the egg becomes liquid within three hours. For those who want to try it at home, vitamin C also does the trick.