Jump to content


legacy participant
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Zoticus

  1. That's because even if HB does employ the vocabulary of science, what he does is not reasoned and hence not scientific.
  2. Even if this were generally true, and I don't think it is, I don't see how it could be demonstrated to be true without resorting to the argument that people who don't set out to enjoy things like you aren't truly enjoying them. Furthermore, eating is a particular case, how one can not experience a meal, unless one doesn't actually eat it, is beyond me. Wanting to see the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel tower, and wanting 'understand the vibe ...' are not mutually exclusive. Wanting to have the tasting menu at a destination restaurant, and having a deep interest in food are not mutually exclusive either. Can't argue with this, except to say that as an overview the tasting menu could have an orientational role to play on subsequent visits or even whether subsequent visits are necessary. I'm saying that if a tasting menu is drawn form the carte then it's contradictory to claim that it is inferior to the carte. And in the case that it is distinct from the carte, then it is as reasonable a choice for the first time diner as anything from the carte, since unless one has an idea of what is good, there is no basis on which to make a decision over and above personal preference. Indeed, in this scenario, I would argue that choosing the tasting menu is the logical and informed choice since it seems unreasonable to suppose that what is emblematic of a restaurant should also be the worst choice. Yes, but it's not like this any more, and, even this were relevant, for the first time diner it's still the logical choice. At worst, 'tourism' is a neutral term. When muichoi says, 'the kitchen far prefers to be challenged rather than churn out tasting menus on automatic', I infer that 'challenge' implies some degree of difficulty not required to produce the tasting menu. Your charge of 'straw man' is unfounded, although perhaps muichoi would like to develop this point so that we may discuss it further. You can repeat this assertion until you're blue in the face, but repetition is not going to make it true. Indeed, you like to invoke the charge of setting up a straw man, but in formal terms the straw man in this argument is the poorly informed tourist.
  3. There's not much point in arguing that eating at destination restaurants isn't a form a tourism. But what you seem to be suggesting is that a) there's something pejorative about tourism, and b) that tasting menus are a poor choice. Regarding a), you've said nothing and merely assumed that your view will be shared. Regarding b), you seem to be claiming that tasting menus are easier to produce than carte dishes, and, as a result of this, are therefore inferior. You have ignored the fact that in most cases tasting menus are drawn from the carte, and that, in the particular case of the FD, the tasting menu is distinct. In order to go beyond mere glibness, you will need to show that tourism is inherently bad; that the carte is more difficult to produce and that this difficulty correlates with better food; and, finally, demonstrate why a first time visitor to the FD would be acting in a more informed manner by not choosing the signature tasting option. To reiterate, you have yet to provide any of the above, and until you do so in a satisfactory manner, ajnicholls' 'bollocks' evaluation stands.
  4. You're being a bit obtuse Jon. The degustation menu at the FD is pushed because if pot roast pork etc. were all people were eating, then there would be nothing to talk about, and the FD would fall off the radar quicker than Joe Dolce. Apart from El Bulli, most tasting menus are drawn from the carte, but at the FD the tasting menu and the carte are in large part mutually exclusive. Wondering why first time visitors to the FD choose the tasting menu is a bit like wondering why first time visitors to NY want to take a look at the Statue of Liberty.
  5. Because, for most, it's a one-off. Anyway, even if it is 'the poorly informed tourists' choice', shouldn't it still be sublime?
  6. Brian Sewell on the FD: takes one to know one.
  7. There also something very irritating about it. I mean, three chefs at the top of their game, coining it in, publishing a hissy statement that they're being misunderstood. What on earth is their problem? Do they honestly believe that they are above criticism, and truly merit universal adoration?
  8. ← Here's the piece from which your piece was cribbed: Manifesto The sheer pomposity, and absolute lack of necessity, of this 'international agenda for great cooking' is breathtaking.
  9. show me an instance where Adria did. I don't see it in any of his books or elsewhere, other than his rejecting the label. ← Ferran Adria (1997) Los Secretos de El Bulli, p.33: In a chapter entitled 'Is there anything left to discover? -- Physics & Chemistry', Adria describes his first encounter with Herve This on a course on Molecular Gastronomy run by the Fundacion Escoffier, and says, "I can affirm that thanks to this encounter my style could follow a new direction ... soon some of the ideas that followed from this conference, such as foams, became great successes at El Bulli."..
  10. I haven't had the pleasure of receiving sounds of the sea through my sense organs, but if one could only comment on it after first hand experience, why is it that HB's PR juggernaut has had this dish in every publication on the planet? You can't, reasonably, use PR and then whinge that everyone is talking about it, after all that's what PR is. Nonsense, I'm afraid. Before HB got hold of the term 'molecular gastronomy' it was probably known to about half a dozen. Subsequently it became his PR mantra. Now he doesn't like it any more -- fair enough, but don't blame the media. Regarding 'the start of a new era', well time will tell. I only hope that chefs remember that they're in the leisure industry, and not finding a cure for cancer. Whether you have a lab or not, you're still in the same game as Macdonalds, and about as close to real science as Mystic Meg.
  11. No doubt this is true, but they have an awful lot to work with... A dish that looks like the sea shore and you get an I Pod with it? When can you send over a picture? Can we schedule a phone interview? Yes, 500 words in tomorrow's edition no problem." ← Eerie, isn't it? It almost as though HB were conceiving the stuff in order to fulfill this very purpose.
  12. Zoticus, there is a flaw to your calculation... ← Next time I'll use a calculator. You never know who might be reading:
  13. What you're saying is that if the awards were not respectable then the recipients of the awards would reject them. From which it follows that the truth test of an award is whether or not it is accepted by the individual to whom it is awarded. Does a bad review only stand if the establishment reviewed accepts its criticism, or does this formula only work for praise?
  14. No wonder it's so hard to get a table at elBulli! ← This is an interesting point. In 18 months el Bulli is open for a maximum of 12 months, but depending on when the voting takes place, this could be closer to nine. Added to this, there is only one service daily, 5 days a week, and the place seats something like a maximum of 50. 250 covers x 36 weeks = 9000 covers. If only half of the voters placed el Bulli on their lists somewhere then nearly 4% of el Bulli's customers in the past 18 months, or two at every service, were panelists on Restaurant Magazine's juries. Sounds reasonable, not.
  15. Complete fucking drivel, as usual; except that every year it takes itself more seriously. P.S. I hope Heston Blumenthal wins next year. He's in serious danger of turning into Uriah Heep.
  16. Thanks for this Magnus. I don't agree that HB is the only chef who tweaks and improves stuff on his menu, but he is one of the few who makes a fetish of doing so. Your view characterizes the generous approach, a less generous critic might say that HB's repertoire is limited. Sounds interesting, and not before time. To a certain extent, you have answered the question. By the way, what is he going to put into three cookbooks? Or will they be like the last one with only eight recipes in each? Can't wait.
  17. You're right, it's minimum. Sadly, for diners, HB has become convinced by his own carefully generated press, OBE, and, (mainly deserved, but disproportionately) moist press attention, and has jumped the gun about five years on becoming the Great British Institution he surely would have become anyway. The TV show, the books, the seemingly endless repetition of the same tropes on the cheffy conference circuit, and, dare I say it, the nascent smugness. He should have dedicated a few more years to confirming his culinary promise via his menu, and vindicating those who championed him instead of handing over the ropes to his team, spending hours in the gym, and indulging his tanorexia. Mind you, I'd probably do the same if I were him. On another, fanfare and PR free, note, le Champignon Sauvage puts the FD to shame in terms of culinary delight. I was dragged along there the other day expecting an HB clone. How wrong I was. Here's a guy who actually seems to enjoy cooking too much to turn turn himself into a brand. Can it be concluded that HB is no longer interested in cooking?
  18. This is the problem for many people. On the one hand there are the apologists like yourself, who fend off critics with an ad hominem charge of incomprehension (likening HB's method to Zeno's paradox isn't going to convince anyone who isn't already convinced, btw). On the other, there are those who claim HB hasn't done anything meaningful for several years, which is equally likely to be untrue. Surely the truth lies somewhere between these poles; namely, HB is doing interesting stuff, but given the researchers and the lab and the near static menu, he's just not doing as much as he could (and perhaps, should) do.
  19. I seem to remember the tasting menu coming in after the big refit. This was around 2001. That means that the tasting menu is six, rather than three, years old.
  20. MSG happens to be a neurotransmitter. Like most neurotransmitters it is abundant in our diets. Imagine if, in order to to have a ordinary brain function, one had to seek out a Chinese meal! However, there is a doubt that one can overdo the levels of MSG in the organism. Simple carbohydrates are vital for life, yet there is no doubt that a diet overly rich in glucose is damaging. Eating the majority of one's food in a 'close to natural' state should ensure that one does not upset the body's biology. Adding a lot of salt/sugar/MSG/Aspartme and so on runs the risk of subjecting the organism to something for which evolution has not prepared it. If MSG makes you feel bad, then avoid it, if it doesn't then don't. Either way, your physiology is your physiology, just as your evolutionary history is uniquely yours, and so what affects you or not doesn't necessarily affect others the same way.
  21. Not wanting to eat in an empty dining room does not imply wanting to eat in a full dining room. Personally, I'm not particularly keen on either.
  22. The Independent recently mentioned that Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck 'in las Vegas on business'. Quite what that business is was not mentioned, but who knows!
  23. My first visit to NY will be as a tourist over the Easter holiday, and I'd like to eat emblematic NY food. I'm thinking of Peter Luger's and Katz's Deli, thoughts on these and any other quintessential NY eats very much appreciated. Z.
  24. In the context of what New York offers as opposed to London, its significant, although arguably not significant per se. This piece is from New York magazine remember. ← I see, so for New Yorkers a food city is assessed according to how New York like it is. Begs the question, rather.
  • Create New...