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Potato chip with Gruyère, Vanilla Oil and Coffee

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Coffee is most often associated with breakfast, the after-dinner, served alongside the dessert or even used in them. But have you tried coffee in an appetizer? Coffee is a fine and versatile product that pairs perfectly with savory foods such as Gruyère, vanilla, mustard, carrots, coconut, orange, basil, onions and bacon. But how do we know this?

We could have tasted all possible combinations but there is a much easier way thanks to molecular gastronomy and the influence of scientists in the kitchen. The scientific method of food pairing was most famously applied by Heston Blumenthal, chef of The Fat Duck, and is based on the principal that foods combine well with one another when they have similar molecular compounds in common. (learn more here “Food Pairing in Molecular Gastronomy”).


This research offers combinations that may be obvious and well practiced, yet sometimes you’ll end up with a food pairing that is completely unique, unheard of and may even sound unappetizing. It is fun to pull an ingredient out of its context and apply it in a complete new use moment. It will challenge the dinner to experience new things, evoke strong reactions and be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks to, this research is now easily accessible to all chefs and presented in a graphical form. Here is how it works. Once the flavour components of a particular food have been analyzed, they are compared to a database of several hundreds other food and beverage products. Products which have flavour components in common with the original ingredient are retained. The results are then graphically presented on a Foodpairing tree. The chosen food, in this case coffee, is placed at the center of the tree and surrounded by possible combinations. The shorter the branch, the better the match to the central ingredient. Learn more about FoodParing.



- 100 g Gruyère

- 2 cups olive or grapeseed oil

- 1 vanilla pod

- potato chips (e.g. Pringles)

- ground coffee


Vanilla Oil

1- Cut the vanilla pod in half.

2- Scrape out the seeds and put it with the pod in the oil.

3- Let the vanilla oil marinate for at least 1 day. You can also make it faster by using the Rapid Infusion with iSi Whip technique.

Assemble and Serve

1- Grate some Gruyère in the center of a potato chip.

2- Shake the vanilla oil before use, place 3 drops of vanilla oil on top of the Gruyère.

3- Sprinkle a pinch of ground coffee on top.