Food meets science inside The Mist Project
Published: February 21, 2012 01:45PM
Updated: December 19, 2011 10:43AM
Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Chef Gavin Baker forms a landscape out of Amano chocolate in his test kitchen, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011. Baker, who has worked in top restaurants in London, New York City and Los Angeles, has hand-picked Utah culinary students to help him create and serve 15-course meals that cost $150 and last between three and four hours.

I spent a few hours this past week in the test kitchen of "The Mist Project," a pop-up restaurant that will spend one month in Salt Lake City starting Thursday, Jan. 19, the same day The Sundance Film Festival kicks off.

The dining event, much like a movie, will take diners through a 15-course journey of food and molecular-gastronomy.

Chef Gavin Baker, who has worked at several notable restaurants including The Fat Duck (London), is the culinary guru behind The Project. The kitchen and living room in his Salt Lake City home is called the test kitchen, but it looks more like a science lab as Baker and his staff pour liquid nitrogen and practice something called spherification.

The kitchen has been a hub of activity lately as the crew of local chefs and culinary students test and retest elements of each dish. They practice until each one is perfect in presentation and taste.

I won't give away too much of the plot, but diners can look forward to crispy pork lollipop with nitrogen dipping dots and as well as two dessert landscapes. One dessert offering will look like a sunrise as you'd see it out an airplane window.

The other is an edible chocolate forrest made with Utah's Amano Artisan Chocolate. (It's being created in the photograph above.) Baker brought in Rebecca Milliken, the Amano pastry chef, to oversee all the desserts.

Tickets to this one-of-a-kind event are still available. They cost $150 per person and must be purchased in advance at An 18 percent gratuity is added at the time of purchase.