My cooking challenge is still open – By Dr Hector Perera : London

There are far too many cooking programmes in British TV but the only thing is I didn’t figure out any technique of energy saving in cooking. The contestants or even the famous chef’s just cook without due care for any wastage of energy, may be because they do not have to meet the energy bill.

Poisonous gases given out while cooking

Researchers now understand that the process of cooking food and even simply operating stoves particularly gas appliances can emit a cocktail of potentially hazardous chemicals and compounds. Within our homes, these pollutants are less diluted than they are outdoors, and in the absence of proper ventilation, they often get trapped inside. In cold weather countries they hardly open the windows to let these gases escape may be because they are unaware of these poisonous gases. Most of the times, the houses have double glazed doors and windows to prevent any heat loss and that is quite natural but what about the poisonous gases that emit while cooking? Most of the times they have extractor fans to get rid of these gases but there must be some ventilation in the kitchen while cooking. I think these little points must be pointed out but the TV chefs hardly care about the safety. The cooker rings are at full blast while they cook and they are do not care about the energy wastage.

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Cooking, what is it? By Dr Hector Perera – London

The proposal I find most congenial both as a cook and as a chemistry teacher is this.  Cooking is the whole series of operations used by humans to turn raw materials, mainly animal carcasses and harvested plants, into food, that is, into something edible, digestible and nutritious. Those operations which I’ll talk about is energy wasted in cooking.

What is cooking?

Cooking is one of those everyday words that everyone knows. But what does it really mean? Is reheating leftovers cooking? How about making an emulsified salad dressing? Scrambling eggs? Baking cookies? Back home in Sri Lanka majority of people didn’t have the present day modern facilities such as gas and electric cookers, microwaves and ovens. They mainly depended on firewood for cooking. Even at our home including our mum used firewood for cooking. Most of the times a kitchen servant helped cooking and we call her “Kussi amma”. Majority of the present day people in Sri Lanka have these facilities just like in Western countries but they waste plenty of energy that is gas and electric during the process of cooking. Most British TV chefs hardly care about energy wastage in cooking. To believe me one should watch these British TV cooking programmes.

At its most basic, cooking means applying heat to food. But cooking is as much about the ways heat changes the food as it is about the heat itself. That’s because heating food does more than just make it hotter. It changes the food in other ways, too.

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Which British TV chef would demonstrate energy saving and smell avoidance in cooking?

Dr Hector Perera London

Back home in Sri Lanka cooking was mainly done by servants or by “Kussi Ammas” but now they are gold dust as they have gone abroad for better paid jobs. They knew cooking by sheer experience not by reading internet or papers as they are not much educated. In the past they mainly cooked on firewood stoves than on gas and electric cookers. It was not easy to cook with such traditionally old methods compared to modern facilities such as with gas and electric cookers, ovens and microwaves. The firewood stove kitchens are always quite hot, smoky and filled with smoke dust and ashes when they cook rice and curries, apart from that the smell of curries also can be easily detected if anyone walk into a kitchen. Now I am wondering how did they managed to cook such tasty food with such difficult conditions.

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Some Health Dangers of Cooking Food at High Temperatures

Dr Hector Perera London

Most people are unaware of the adverse effects of high temperature cooking. We cannot blame our good old “kussi amma” because they were totally unaware of those matters but now the present generation with more modern cooking facilities must be aware of the good and bad side of high temperature cooking. Clay pots are bad conductors of that means it takes time to heat anything in them. I think the slow heating of the food inside a clay pot is really good because the food itself are bad conductors of heat. Once the food get heat lots of chemical changes takes place quite slowly, some juice ooze out while some get in. I am sure those clay pots cook the food but as I said it takes time to get them heated up. In the meantime most of the heat put to the cook get radiated or get waste but that is a different issue. Have you noticed that food cooked in clay pots taste better than those cooked in metal cooking pots? One of the reason is that the ingredients get absorbed better when cooking in clay pots as there is not enough heat for them to get evaporated quickly with the cooking aroma. The gas and electric temperature must be controlled so that the ingredients do not disappear into the air without getting absorbed into the food.

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Must apply some scientific knowledge in cooking than just juggling, joking with this and that without any explanation: by Dr Hector Perera  London

I made it clear that that I wanted to avoid any cooking aroma depositing on me and on my clothes while cooking. Just like back home Sri Lanka cooking, first I didn’t worry about the energy wastage then realised higher temperature, faster those chemicals escaped while cooking. I preferred to cook and eat even from those days due to many reasons including health point of view. When I had to cook, eat, study and sleep in a single room, I really had to think very hard to avoid the cooking aroma depositing all over. May be I have to eat takeaways than cooking in the room. Again I didn’t like that much oily, salty fish and chips and chicken and chips. Honestly I didn’t eat that kind of food while I was studying in Sri Lanka. Just took the lunch at the Polytechnic was sufficient. When I studied, those days they had Polytechnic states but not University states. After a long time experiments I discovered the proper way to cook and now I want the general public to benefit from my scientific discovery. 

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Apply science in energy saving and avoidance of smell depositing while cooking.

Dr Hector Perera London


Cooking or cookery is the art, technology and craft of preparing food for consumption with the use of heat. Food contains nothing but complicated organic chemicals so I think cooking is a huge chemical reaction and interaction with heat. Asians add spice ingredients in cooking dishes such as chicken, beef, lamb and even some vegetable dishes. Again these spices have far too many complicated chemical structures to mention right here but if you need some examples cinnamon have about 20 chemicals and chilies have 15 chemicals. I can go on to give the number of chemicals even in cardamom, cloves and nutmeg but I am sure this is enough for the time being. It dependents how much of each ingredient is added for a certain weight of chicken, lamb or beef. Some people like them hot some like them mild so one has to be careful in adding ingredients qualitatively and quantitatively. Once you add the required ingredients including curry leaves, lemon grass and ginger then they must leave that to a side for some ingredients to get adsorbed then then get absorbed. This process is called marinate. I have seen some so called experienced chefs in British TV shows, just add ingredients while they are allowed to boil and steaming. That is the time those chefs get showered with ingredients so they walk up and down like tandoori chicken. Who would agree that is a correct step in cooking.

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Would you like to get cooking aroma on them while cooking then cat walk like a tandoori chicken?

By Dr Hector Perera: London


Cooking or cookery is an art, a technology and a craft   of preparing food   suitable for human consumption with the use of heat. The cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, like grilling food over an open wood fire or using electric stoves, to baking then direct heat cooking and a few more other types of cooking. Most people prepare or cook in their own dwellings and by professional cooks and chefs in restaurants and other food establishments. Cooking can also occur through chemical reactions without the presence of heat. Sri Lankans prepare green chillies pickles and lime pickles without any heat.

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My cookery demonstration in Sirasa TV in Sri Lanka to help save about 60% energy and stop any cooking aroma depositing on you

by Dr Hector Perera: London

We all need to get our meals, either by cooking at home by someone or if possible by you or have some takeaway. Most people are not familiar with complicated cooking but to cook the basic things such as rice and curries is not a difficulty thing because even our “kussi ammas” are able to cook on firewood stoves. Now modern facilities are available, gas and electric cookers, ovens, microwaves and even solar powered cookers. In other words the energy required for cooking is available but some people are not taking the best advantage that means they waste lots of energy during cooking due to total unawareness of the wastage.


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My method of application of science in cooking in order to save about 60% energy wasted in cooking

by Dr Hector Perera; London

Heat energy can be transferred by conduction, convection, and radiation. The loss of heat from poorly insulated homes wastes energy resources and costs money. There are several ways to insulate homes against heat loss. It is possible to evaluate different ways to save energy by calculating their payback times. This is mainly applicable to cold weather countries only.

Has anybody worried about the energy wastage in cooking? Energy is used in keeping the houses warm, for hot water then also for cooking in many different ways. In some kinds of cooking one cannot save any energy for example in baking, microwave cooking, grilling and saunting. In direct heat application of cooking such as in cooking rice and curries one can save a reasonable amount of energy if cooked scientifically. I have cooked and demonstrated this in a few TV programmes in Sri Lanka.


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Majority of Sri Lankans consume boiled food than fried food because they are healthy

Dr Hector Perera – London

The food prepared by frying or grilling are not quite healthy than the food cooked by the method of boiling. Research has revealed that exposure to cooking oil used to fry chips can increase the risk of health more than cooking things by boiling such as cooking rice and curries. Scientists say potentially harmful particles are released into the air when oil is heated to the temperatures needed to cook chips or stir-fries. Unlike in the past now Sri Lankans also got used to eating fried food on regular basis. Present day the places like Battramulla have completely transformed to fit into a modern city with lots of modern buildings such as large supermarkets, restaurants, takeaways and many other types of places. The people are so busy so the only way out is to have takeaway food.

Occasional frying at home


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