Cooking physics - simple - apply heat to item to make it hotter.
Cooking chemistry - combine ingredients x y and z. Mix in a certain way to create a batter that is different then the sum of parts.
Cooking alchemy - when ingredients combine to something vastly more than you'd expect from the simple list of ingredients.
I indulged in alchemy tonight. I made basic bread dressing to go with a turkey breast I was cooking. The ingredient list is really simple - onion, celery, bread (cheap white bread will do fine), a bit of seasoning and either chicken stock (which I never have on hand) or chicken bouillon cube and water and an egg. That's it. Somehow, they combine to make a side dish that I always love.