In the first installment of Avec Alan, GQ's food critic Alan Richman introduces French chef Eric Ripert to the wonders and horrors of Costco. How does the fluorescent light-filled warehouse club make make Ripert feel? Not so good:
I am freaked out. Costco depresses me. I know everybody doesn't have the same opportunities I do to visit farm stands and little markets, but I will fight to the end for inspirational shopping. Costco doesn't even look like it belongs on our planet. It could be on the moon. It has no relationship to the outside world as I know it. The lighting, the temperature, the outrageous abundance. The store has no life and no contact with anything that comes from the earth. Everything is packaged, sterile, clinical. Nothing about the food is emotional. And there is a wicked genius at work, mixing the organic with the terribly processed.
On the upside, the meal Richman prepares with the ingredients they bought from Costco is excellent. Ripert praises the ingredients, and even approves of the triple-crème cheese, although he says, "It makes me sad it is from a store that terrifies me." Costco: it's both terrifying and impressive. Watch the video after the jump.