TIME Profile on Grant Achatz (Molecular Gastronomy Chef)

Waking up at 3:30 a.m. in the morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find the latest TIME magazine on our dinner table. For some reason, I’ve been doing a lot of work on the dinner table—homework, college applications, etc. Anyways, I always skim through a TIME issue for food-related pieces before delving into the current events, so you can imagine my face when I saw a full-page picture of Grant Achatz adorned in a spotless, white chef’s gown with a line of similarly dressed chefs hastily working behind him. The headline read: “The Miracle Worker.” More interesting however, was the sub-headline: “After cooking got him three Michelin stars and tongue cancer nearly killed his sense of taste, Grant Achatz is opening a new kind of restaurant—but you’ll need a ticket to get in.” The three Michelin stars I knew about, but tongue cancer was a shocker.

The article by Joel Stein—he also writes hilarious, satirical columns for TIME aptly-titled “The Awesome Column,” which are usually found at the very last page—details a brief history of Achatz and his restaurant Alinea. Achatz cooks, quite possibly, the most innovative cuisine in America. Utilizing molecular gastronomy, he creates dishes such as “fried pheasant breast…kebabed on a branch of burning oak leaves.”

Stein acclaims that Achatz is “a poet” while “most chefs are musicians.” Achatz’ cuisine is so delicate and so precise that it is hard to consider eating at his restaurant eating in its traditional context. Alinea appears to serve more as an exploratorium of taste rather than a display of hauté cuisine. Stein also mentions that Achatz runs Alinea “like a Pychon novel in which a bunch of lunatics are employed by a military contractor with a really fine palate.” One such testament to that claim lies in the fact that “When one of [Stein’s] eyelashes fell onto a plate, a chef several feet away stepped in to remove it before [he] even noticed.”

Yet the article did not captivate me for its vivid description of Alinea and its food, the article kept me reading because of its deep, emotional portrayal of Achatz. So with that said, I merely suggest you read the article. It contains a couple pictures of Achatz’ cuisine.

Also, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in nearly two weeks. That is because December I have been busy finishing off college applications and my first semester of senior year. However, I’ll return to the normal posting schedule by the last week of December with a review of WD~50, a molecular gastronomy restaurant I will be eating at during the holidays!

About Earl

Hi, my name is Earl. I am a student who loves to analyze food and eat healthy. My careful eye for food has caused me to become interested in the science behind food and cooking, and I write about my explorations into food on my website Toastable.com. While I believe in sticking to whole, natural foods, I'm not afraid to work with avant-garde ingredients and equipment such as constant temperature water baths and sodium alginate. I also love photography, technology, and journalism.

12. December 2010 von Earl
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