The Great Hall
New trends in food The Great Hall: New trends in food
By George (George) on Wednesday, November 01, 2006 - 08:32 am: Edit

Have you heard of - Alinea in Chicago?

Visited their website and they had some great food photos.

They do a 12 to 24 course tasting menu that is said to be produced in more of a science lab than a regular kitchen.

Here is a link to photos of the food.. The photos are great.

What do you think- is this fun, feces or the future?


By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Wednesday, November 01, 2006 - 09:12 am: Edit

This is an interesting topic because of the possibilities it holds for feeding the world, this can be much more then a trend or a fad; this on the verge of a great discovery, "kitchens without open fires"!
Homaru Canto of Moto in Chicago is a great innovator in this field this takes Sous Vide to a different level!!!
You can actually go out to the dining room and cook the food on ultra cold surfaces on certain equipment that has the same affect as a flame.
This guy has many patents pending and has talked to the Pentagon and NASA about the future of foods for soldiers and outer space.
They had an articla On Fast Company not too long ago about him.

Here is a link to the restaurant

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Saturday, November 04, 2006 - 12:05 pm: Edit

Why do none of the chefs have any kind of hair restraint?

The food seems a little contrived. What the hell IS that?

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, November 04, 2006 - 02:24 pm: Edit

Contrived is a good word for it.
I suppose the food business has always had an element of "theater" and presentation has evolved over time. The examples above and the like have fully crossed the line to Food as Entertainment. This fuels the hunger the foodie types that are after the next on the edge experience.
Does it really have anything to do with eating? What is the long term profitability of such a circus/restaurant. Will they be cast aside like yesterdays newspaper when the next thrill comes long.

I keep thinking of the people just starting out. They see this as the epitome of haute cuisine. Will they see the fundamentals as even necessary. And what happens when they are asked to actually feed people instead of entertain them?

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Saturday, November 04, 2006 - 04:42 pm: Edit

Is most food not contrived???...just to different levels???
How is this entertainment???...maybe now that it is in infancy but the potential is incredible.

By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Saturday, November 04, 2006 - 06:30 pm: Edit

Haven't I heard you say that you teach your students that a garnish should be elemental to the dish? I think I remember you saying that. That is my philosophy. Sticking a piece of parsley on a fish plate and a piece of watercress on beef(Anyone remember that?) simply because that is the tradition, is equally contrived.

I don't see how the presentation of any of these dishes add to the food. More so, they take away from the food itself. The presentation becomes the center of attention, not the food.

Look,...I know I am an old stick in the mud but I'm a cook. I feed people. It's all about the food for me.

By Chefmanny (Chefmanny) on Saturday, November 04, 2006 - 07:22 pm: Edit

True, I am not saying anything about the presentation, I am focusing on cooking techniques.
It's all about the food but, is it all about what we know about the food though???
We have to have an open mind to new things in the industry, yes many (most) will be trendy crap but one or two can be miracles!
I think this guy is definitely a bit wacky but he is definitely thinking in another level then a "cook" as we know a "cook" is thinking.
Imagine the possibilities with the eadible paper, how much can that change things???
........or cooking with the different gasses and surfaces??

By George (George) on Sunday, November 05, 2006 - 08:57 am: Edit

I think it's pretty interesting taking it for what it is. Food feeding the masses, no. An interesting night out with lots of different tastes and chances to encourage conversation yes. These days lots of folks eat out every night. Having someplace very different serves a market.

And it is "real" food.

On the other hand is this stuff (from the restaurant Manny mentioned-)

This sushi is made up of flavoured sheets printed out on an inkjet printer
This sushi is made up of flavoured sheets printed out on an inkjet printer

Take it totally over the edge.

Check out an article on a restaurant on Moto

There are a couple of interesting videos on the moto site here.

What do ya think, did the first guy to eat cooked meat get his chopps busted for being over the edge?
(attempt at humor, not real question)


By Cheftim (Cheftim) on Sunday, November 05, 2006 - 01:35 pm: Edit

Veiw the pictures from the Alinea website I like the idea of letting the pure tastes stand out and how flavors are paired. I also like this kind of deconstuction cuisine. Two items stand out in an over the top presentation  Granola and

By Flattop (Flattop) on Sunday, November 05, 2006 - 02:20 pm: Edit

Alinea in Chicago is interesting but I think I'll stick with the food as art theory instead of the art as food. I really think I would be rather uncomfortible it that enviroment. It has a very cold feel about it. Even the food(?) has that same vib. Sterile thats what Im feeling, like a doctors office.

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Sunday, November 05, 2006 - 06:30 pm: Edit

That last pic looks like it might put your eye out

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Friday, November 10, 2006 - 03:28 pm: Edit

as in fact happened to King Lear, plucked out by his daughter:
"Out vile jelly" (wrote the master)

toodleloo gents

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Saturday, November 11, 2006 - 11:20 am: Edit

Oh Man!
You guys actually got it!
Bah-Ha-Ha-ha ha!!!!

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 06:14 am: Edit

Got what?
Was that John Kerry I heard laughing?

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - 09:12 am: Edit

You know, if you have to explain a joke, it's not funny anymore.

So anyway--
King Lear might be wary of such food presentations because it's a danger to his eyes!?!?!

"out vile jelly!"

By Mr_Cook (Mr_Cook) on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 06:58 pm: Edit

Oh Kinglear,
It is indeed a pleasure and surprise to find such an erudite denizen of these sometimes musty tombs. (besides Mr. George that is).

To the point of the Alinea and Moto operations, well these are the only chefs who qualify as artistis in the food world for me. They are saying something whereas a pretty plate of food for the cover of Food Arts Magazine is that, a pretty picture. These new chefs are throwing the concept of food and eating against the canvas of its origins and consumtion. Now that is art----contrived reality with a perspective---not some goop for the indulgence industry. Somewhere on this forum I read a posting about serving a cow's head on a platter as being an art statement in our business and I think there is some value to that position.

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 09:25 pm: Edit

Oh, I get ya!
Food as Art.
I have definately seen some really remarkable stuff by food artists. Several installations by Nir Adar are truly remarkable.

I just don't think food can really be art in a food service/paying customer environment. Real art is about challenging the viewer's preconceived notions about the reality of the world we experience. The food service arena is about consistently providing a pleasing experience for the paying customer. Therefore, one can only go so far to challenge his notions and beliefs about food and dining, after that, you just piss him off.
In performance art, it's a good thing to make you audience at least a little uncomfortable, and sometimes it's a good thing to offend him completely.
I just don't think any restaurant owner or chef would ever be willing to take it that far. Who stays in business when you constantly tick off your customer?

Soo.. to me.. food and dining are always crafts of extremely accomplished artisans.

By Kinglear (Kinglear) on Thursday, November 16, 2006 - 09:27 pm: Edit

I do have to say the photography in those shots is brilliant!

By 11chefa11 (11chefa11) on Monday, March 26, 2007 - 05:07 pm: Edit

To better understand Grant, the exec/ owner of alinea you should read the Reach of a Chef by Rullman. Achatz worked under Keller at The French Laundry, Keller actually sent Grant to Spain to see these kinds of preperations. If you get a chance to read the book you will get a better idea of what he is doing. Obviously he is doing it well as the restaurant is the #1 rated by Gourmet, and the NY Times gave him a write up as soon as he opened, not common for the NYT for a distant city.

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