No-calorie food cloud a tasty alternative

There is a new trend of inhaling your food, which is popular for dieters in Europe. It is tasty but does not have any calories, as chefs and patrons are discovering at one Ottawa restaurant.

'Le Whaf' is a French gadget that allows food to be broken down and inhaled

Taste but don't eat

11 years ago
Duration 1:54
Clouds of flavour through a device called Le Whaf are a trend in France and have arrived in Ottawa.

A European culinary trend offering a gastronomic feast without the caloric guilt is steaming into Ottawa.

The idea is called Le Whaf, where ingredients of a meal are boiled into a liquid, strained, then poured into a large French gadget, similar to a glass cauldron.

Chef Norman Aitken cooks up a beef and mushroom consommé, which he samples for free. This cloud of food has no calories but it can satisfy the taste buds. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

It was inspired by a product called Le Whif, an aerosol that sprays particles of dark chocolate. It is a treat for people without any calories.

The inventor is French scientist and Harvard professor David Edwards, who then had the idea for Le Whaf.

It is now a popular movement for dieters in Europe because inhaling the air can curb appetite.

Chef Norman Aitken cooks up the tasty air at Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar in Ottawa's Westboro neighbourhood.

The restaurant does not charge for the meal, which on this day was a beef and mushroom consommé — a type of clear soup made from richly flavoured stock, which has been clarified.

Ultrasound breaks up food

Aitken can turn the consommé into a cloud with the large cauldron-like gadget. It is still a novelty piece for Juniper.

"It's a vase that has an ultrasound planted in the bottom of it, so it agitates the liquid hard enough and fast enough that it will create a cloud," Aitken said, "It is used, essentially, as a vehicle for flavour."

The cloud of food can be inhaled through a straw. One customer, Carolyn Likely, said the cloud was, "a taste sensation without something in your mouth."

For the chefs, it is all about pushing their culinary limits by using a new way to satisfy their hungry patrons.

"When you're smelling wine, same premise. Instead you're going to smell it. You're going to, essentially, inhale it leaving you with flavour on your sinus and palate," said Aitken.