molecular gastronomist n.
The concept was first coined in the 1980s by scientist Herve This, to describe a branch of food science that focuses on cooking and food preparation (traditional food science just looks at the chemical make-up of food). He studied traditional cooking methods to understand the scientific reasons why jam is cooked in a copper pan, why souffles rise and fall, and to come up with more effective solutions for cooking failures.
Jaime Ee, "Adding some weird science as a cooking ingredient," Business Times Singapore, May 15, 2004
Gary Robbins, "Orange County Science Calendar," The Orange County Register, April 19, 2004
"Cooking up Christmas storm with science," Hobart Mercury, December 24, 1993