It has always been alluring to delve into the depths of the newest techniques in cooking. Yet actually starting to experiment with these has taken a relatively long way.
My first encounter with the trends was probably still in school, when one of our buddies started schooling us into the techniques of Ferran Adria. Some of us actually went and bought our ISI canisters. Another thing we met at school was sous-vide cooking. It was such a matter of fact technique for the french, that I wasn't expecting it to be such a big issue when I went Stateside. We did use it in every restaurant I was in. Briffard was a master in it, but having worked for long with Robuchon, it's not surprising.
Briffard also introduced me to "aires". We didn't call it like that and we used no lecithin or any other soy additives. Just emulsions. The same guy who used to lecture us on Adria during school told us about use of "aires" in the restaurant he was working in The Plaza Athenée. I was a bit surprised by how much we used "aires" in Maestro. Both Garde Manger and Entremetier used to have at least two or three every night.
Maestro also introduced me to agar (I had heard about it, but never used it) and my first hot gel. After that, it has been mostly reading that has kept me informed. Then came the Starchefs ICC. Watching so many amazing chefs showcase their techniques really got me into track, so as soon as my samples come through... I expect to start turning things upside down.