'Alinea' on Serious Eats

Enter to Win a Copy of the 'Alinea' Cookbook

Grant Achatz's Alinea cookbook came out back in 2008, but it's getting more attention now with the release of Modernist Cuisine and all of Achatz's new projects (read more about them in our interview). Even if you don't picture yourself making spheres of beet juice or mozzarella balloons every night, it's still a fun book to have on the shelf. Enter to win one of the five copies we're giving away here. More

Meet & Eat: Grant Achatz

Alinea chef Grant Achatz just published his memoir Life on the Line, which details his path to culinary greatness and his coinciding battle with tongue cancer. He's simultaneously been in the process of opening his new restaurant project Next, and the accompanying bar Aviary. The man's busy! Learn about his upcoming projects, and his secret love of Little Caesar's. More

Chicago: Alinea to Open a New Restaurant Called 'Next' and Bar 'Aviary'

Last night Alinea chef Grant Achatz announced on Twitter (just as the James Beard Foundation Awards were kicking off) that he and business partner Nick Kokonas will be opening a new restaurant project in the fall called Next and a bar (without bartenders) called Aviary. The experimental menus will rotate by season, with each one focusing on a different era and setting, like Paris 1912 and Hong Kong 2036. More

Sort-of Edible Christmas Trees: Alinea's Tempura-Fried Goose on Juniper Sprigs

I love how the tempura bit looks like a root ball. [Photographs: Christian Seel/Alinea Mosaic] On the Alinea Mosaic forum, chef and photographer Christian Seel describes the technique and thinking behind Alinea's holiday-season tempura goose course. A layer of goose-infused stuffing is topped with a piece of cured and sous-vided goose breast, which is in turn topped off with an armagnac-plum purée. All that is skewered on a juniper sprig, battered, and fried in fat rendered earlier from the geese. The juniper is warmed in the salamander broiler just before serving to release its aroma. [via @gachatz]... More

S. Pellegrino's 2009 'World's 50 Best Restaurants List' Released

On the 2009 list, El Bulli is at No. 1 for the fourth year in a row. Fat Duck at No. 2 again. Rounding out the top ten are: Noma (Copenhagen), Mugaritz (San Sebastián, Spain), El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain), Per Se (NYC), Bras (Laguiole, France), Arzak (San Sebastián, Spain), Pierre Gagnaire (Paris), and Alinea (Chicago).... More

Hip-Hop Alinea

From the "Lazy Sunday"–inspired Grant Achatz rap: "... Yo, where’s the first course? / Garnished roes, dude. / Then hit the fois gras, it's my favorite food. / I prefer Pork Belly. / That’s a good one, too. / Sweet Potato is the best. /True that. / DOUBLE TRUE...." [MenuPages Chicago]... More

Grant Achatz on Blogging

MenuPages Chicago talks to Alinea chef Grant Achatz about his involvement with the just-launched Atlantic Food Channel: The blogging has been very self-educational for me. It is rare that chefs take the time to step away from their kitchens (or TV studios) to reflect on the why and what it is that they do. I will produce between 2 and 3 posts per week, in the beginning I will focus on my recent travels to Madrid and Japan and how these trips both informed me of changing times in modern gastronomy.... I think it will be a cool look into what I think is a very transitional time in gastronomy, and how Alinea is reacting to it. Related: 'The Atlantic'... More

Grant Achatz, The Movie

Actually, it's going to be called "Taste," according to indieWIRE. Documentarian R.J. Cutler says of his next project on Alinea's executive chef: “He's considered by many to be one of the greatest chefs in the world, and he’s had tongue cancer, and in battling the cancer, he lost the use of his taste buds on his tongue.” [via MenuPages]... More

A Comic About Eating at Alinea

Check out this great comic by Chicago-based artist Lucy Knisley illustrating her and her boyfriend's 13-course meal at Alinea in all its pupil-dilating glory. If her drawings of the courses weren't enough—from the lamb stew in a bottomless cup to the dehydrated caramel dust with salt—she says, "the meal was probably the best meal I've ever eaten in my life." Considering that she wrote a book about exploring and eating in Paris, French Milk, she seems to be a food lover. Related Grant Achatz' Alinea Cookbook 'The New Yorker' Profile on Grant Achatz Alinea's Most Exciting Food... More

In Videos: Little Kids Make Alinea Cookbook Look Easy

Theo, a self-proclaimed five-and-a-half-year-old (at the prime age when half ages matter), has trouble pronouncing "agar" and needs a step stool to see over the counter, but he can cook from the Alinea cookbook (previously reviewed on Serious Eats). His brother James (nine-years-old) isn't professionally trained either, but doesn't fret over a recipe with pheasant, gray shallots, and burning oak leaves. While some home cooks have expressed frustration with the unapproachable quality of the Alinea cookbook ("it took seven hours and produced eight bites of food") these two munchkins have proved them wrong. It doesn't hurt that their father is Nick Kokonas, the business partner of Grant Achatz, Alinea's head chef. Both videos on both sides of the argument,... More

In Videos: Alinea's Grant Achatz Makes Sous Vide Stuffing and Gelled Pumpkin Pie

At the Alinea Thanksgiving, there are two magic words: "plastic" and "bag." Earlier today, we showed you turkey, the Grant Achatz way. (aka, throw it into a plastic bag). Not much changes in the stuffing department. Achatz calls it his bag o' stuffing, in lieu of the more traditional cavity o' stuffing. Since he's such a pro, Achatz doesn't need tongs when placing bags into bubbling-hot water baths. He scoffs at tongs. He uses his bare hands. For the pumpkin pie, Achatz gives the baggies a break to whip out the blowtorch. "This doesn't look like pumpkin pie. This looks like Alinea. With funny gels and stuff," noted Nick Kokonas, an Alinea business partner. Those gelatinous pumpkin-bourbon cubes get... More

In Videos: Alinea's Grant Achatz Makes Sous Vide Turkey

It's no surprise that the American patron saint of molecular gastronomy wouldn't be satisfied with a humdrum oven-roasted turkey. Alinea's Grant Achatz walks us through a sous vide Thanksgiving (this is just part one; another is on the way). When his business partner Nick Kokonas first suggested the oven, Achatz responded with a stunned "No!" Psh, are you kidding him? It wouldn't be the holidays without a vacuum sealer and immersion circulator! Actually, Achatz says Ziploc baggies will work just fine. He even assures NFL lovers that sous-viding will not inhibit football-watching. Video, after the jump.... More

Grant Achatz' Alinea Cookbook

Usually, I can devour a new cookbook in the space of one or two evenings—reading all the front matter and back matter and giving a few thorough skims (and then some) to all the recipes in between. Not so with the recently released Alinea cookbook. Consuming this one has been a more protracted commitment, spanning a few weeks, filling the majority of my free time, and still, I feel as though I should pore over it a few more times. This is no ordinary cookbook. This is a culinary tome. Before any recipes are introduced, there are several lengthy pieces—replete with heady analogies to art and philosophy and written by such heavy hitters as Jeffrey Steingarten,—set forth to frame... More

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