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chefg

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  1. I wanted to personally report that I have been very recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the mouth. I have consulted several prominent physicians and will likely begin aggressive treatment within the next few weeks. I remain, and will remain, actively and optimistically engaged in operations at Alinea to the largest extent possible. Alinea will continue to perform at the level people have come to expect from us -- I insist on that. I have received amazing support from friends, family, and everyone who has thus far been told of the disease, and I look forward to a full, cancer-free, recovery. [Moderator's Note: If you would like to share your wishes for Chef Achatz's quick return to health, you can do so by clicking on this link, which will take you to a Member News topic devoted to the subject. -- CA]
  2. It is ...that is why I drafted a letter and sent it to over 350 contacts...warning them. The money is the lesser issue for me personally. What is the problem is the breech of trust and the repercussions it has not only on Montreal specifically, but how it shades future decisions to participate in these types of events. Which is a shame because they are beneficial in many ways for both the chef and the people attending the workshops.
  3. ← Like me, Goldfarb, Liebrandt....for example.
  4. I think it would beneficial for both the readership and the staff of Alinea to hear Jason articulate exactly what his preconceived notions where, and why they existed. What media outlets contributed to them? ← Grant, I think primarily it was the fact that I felt that there was a level of weirdness about the special serving peices which I could not fathom being an important element of the dishes, and that if you just look at pictures of the food without actually eating them, it all just looks like strangely presented stuff rather than "food". Mind you I also had the same thoughts about Ferran Adria's cuisine, but after having your tasting, I may very well be able to accept it and even want to go dine there now -- although your cuisine is even more perciveably food-like than his. I think you said the most extreme dish you made was the "virtual" shrimp cocktail served in an atomizer, which is the sort of thing (in level of weirdness) he does all the time. I think what is important to understand (and as I said to you afterwards) is that if you just took your food and put them on regular round plates like many fine dining establishments do, you would loose the "interactive" element of the cuisine. For example, the langoustine tempura dish needs that upright wire spider in order for the vanilla bean it's stuck on to be grabbed by the diner (so he can drop it, "V" lizard-man like, like a live mouse into his mouth) and it really shows off the dish. Another example would be the one suspended on a long wire where you have to bend over and grab the morsel in your mouth -- if you had to use a fork that dish certainly wouldn't be as fun. So many of your dishes are "interactive" in nature -- you just sort of have to throw out all your pre-conceived baggage about what constitutes the dining experience and embrace the fun and the flavors themselves, none of which are "weird". They're pure and evoke basic food and flavor memories. I still feel the plating presentations themselves are very unorthodox, but it makes you appreciate the dishes more. ← I am glad you recognized the purpose of the pieces and I can see where someone who has not experienced Alinea may perceive the compositions as new or never seen before…which can sometimes lead to them thinking they won’t find the food tasty….which is too bad. Martin and I spend a great deal of time in all stages of development making sure the pieces are not only aesthetically appealing but also more importantly functional. All of the aspects that you noted are very intentional and important to us. The interaction between food and guest is a critical part of the uniqueness of the Alinea dining experience. And furthermore Martin has no interest in making solely beautiful service pieces. It must have a purpose before we even begin the process. A large part of the service pieces success rests on the front of house staff. They are the human component that either softens, explains, or elaborates on their purpose and how they work…depending on what that particular guest needs.
  5. I think it would beneficial for both the readership and the staff of Alinea to hear Jason articulate exactly what his preconceived notions where, and why they existed. What media outlets contributed to them?
  6. Salt-packed anchovies. They're rather difficublt to find. other than through mail order. ← I am thinking black truffle explosions....definitely black truffle explosions...what do you think John?
  7. Hearts of Palm were back on this past Thursday night -- but with 5 new fillings. It'll be interesting to see if they appear on the anniversary menu and if they do, in what form. =R= ← We brought back the hearts of palm for Ferran, that is why it was served this past Thursday. We are in the process of compiling the list of total "unique" dishes created here thus far...right now we have combed thru August - October and ended up with 75. That means there are at least 50+ from May/June July,and at least that many from Nov-through the end of 2005. My guess is we will hit 275 or so by the time May 2006 rolls around, which comes out to over one dish per service. When I say unique dishes I mean we will not count protein swaps or minor ingredient changes...for instance Black Cod replacing Skate....or Morels swapping out for Shiitakes. Anyway, the way were are deciding are as follows: 1.Personal poll of the staff -kitchen and FOH (their personal opinions plus their observance and communication with the 16,000 or so guests that have dined at the restaurant in the first year) 2. Blog research-- several hundred foodies have dined here and posted several hundred reviews/comments on their favorites within various sites. 3. Critic/food writer responses -- printed media opinions 4. And the only limiting factor seasonality...being that it will be in May, tough to do dishes like Bison on the Juniper Branch, or the chestnut in spring.
  8. The current running average is 4 hours 23 mintues...some have finished in 3 hours...it solely depends on how fast you eat, if you or a member of your party gets up alot during the meal, which wine program you choose, and if you are taking photos.
  9. Why? Why wouldn't it be a restaurant where we offered tasting menus simular to what we do at Alinea ...but dishes of the past?Why do people want to make this cuisine "more approachable" Isn't that one aspect of what makes it special ..... it's un-approachability? Why turn it into a sushi concept of ordering it "by the peice" or large verions of the same food in an ala carte setting? Would it be the same? does ordering a great piece of toro nigiri (or 5!) make it less special because it is more approachable? I don't think so.In a tasting menu it makes sense to have an integrated whole that is composed and balanced -- and certainly a tasting menu could be available. But why not have the tapas/sushi bar of black truffle explosions etc.? Hell, I am at Alinea most days and I don't get to eat them! You of all people should know why it is more special to have a format that is controlled by the house. How special is the explosion when you can get a dozen of them at will? Ron—was the first or the second explosion better?Everyone has to admit there is something unique/special to a tasting menu format that an ala carte or tapas/sushi style service cannot provide. Isn't that why you have Alinea. Restaurant x would support Alinea, but the menu structure is different. Alinea would be the special and restaurant x be the regular. I can't see myself having everyday be a special day. Though I could have many regular days. But why would restaurant X be everyday? In fact, by saying that it would be everyday, aren't we diminishing the dishes that once made Trio and Alinea not everyday? Why can't the two concepts exist just like the French Laundry and Per Se exist? Why wouldn't it be more attractive than that, being that no dishes would overlap at the two restaurants? Why can't this concept just bring forth two great four star restaurants? I think one of the (many) reasons why FL and PS works is that is not in the same area. I was under the assumption that restaurant X would be in Chicago. Perhaps one intention for opening up Bouchon is to take in the others who are unable to make it to the FL. Then maybe a restaurant Y is in order. Anyways... While you have the mike, care to comment on what is store after the break. Any major (or minor) changes? How about mid year? Anniversary? Care to share an outlined plan of the coming months. I ask, so that docsconz (and other non-locals) can plan out their Chicago visits. We will re-open with the basically the same menu we closed with. This will allow us a smooth transition back into the flow and able us to offer the best possible experience to the guests dining shortly after we return. I expect major changes to happen two to three weeks after the re-opening. Actually Nick and I were just talking about the first anniversary today. Inspired by some of your comments, and a few of our past thoughts, we thought it would be nice to open the restaurant up to an “open house” type of venue for the first anniversary. The restaurant would be set up with several stations serving different unique bites….with any luck maybe Martin will be able to develop several pieces of service ware that would effectively serve people in a group setting, similar to the way the mass antenna did at the MCA event. Rather than have a conventional seated dinner on May 4th 2006 that limits us to include only 70 guests…why not make it a larger affair….where several hundred people can come and celebrate our birthday…and sample some innovative cuisine, specially designed for a group setting. The guests get to mingle with the chefs and sample the food in an environment that is different than the normal Alinea experience. And the proceeds go to a charity. I guess we have four months to figure it all out.
  10. Why? Why wouldn't it be a restaurant where we offered tasting menus simular to what we do at Alinea ...but dishes of the past?Why do people want to make this cuisine "more approachable" Isn't that one aspect of what makes it special ..... it's un-approachability? Why turn it into a sushi concept of ordering it "by the peice" or large verions of the same food in an ala carte setting? Would it be the same? does ordering a great piece of toro nigiri (or 5!) make it less special because it is more approachable? I don't think so.In a tasting menu it makes sense to have an integrated whole that is composed and balanced -- and certainly a tasting menu could be available. But why not have the tapas/sushi bar of black truffle explosions etc.? Hell, I am at Alinea most days and I don't get to eat them! You of all people should know why it is more special to have a format that is controlled by the house. How special is the explosion when you can get a dozen of them at will? Ron—was the first or the second explosion better?Everyone has to admit there is something unique/special to a tasting menu format that an ala carte or tapas/sushi style service cannot provide. Isn't that why you have Alinea. Restaurant x would support Alinea, but the menu structure is different. Alinea would be the special and restaurant x be the regular. I can't see myself having everyday be a special day. Though I could have many regular days. ← But why would restaurant X be everyday? In fact, by saying that it would be everyday, aren't we diminishing the dishes that once made Trio and Alinea not everyday? Why can't the two concepts exist just like the French Laundry and Per Se exist? Why wouldn't it be more attractive than that, being that no dishes would overlap at the two restaurants? Why can't this concept just bring forth two great four star restaurants?
  11. You are young, so a brief hiatus from cooking would not hurt you at all, and probably would be beneficial. My time spent at the winery was far more beneficial than I could have ever imagined.
  12. Yes but the point would be that Alinea is the think tank, the new, the cutting edge….and even as restaurant X would absorb the dishes that have fallen away from Alinea, restaurant X would also be continually moving forward as it recycles the best dishes of the umbrella. The fact is it could afford an opportunity to shore up the “perceived downfalls” of this style of cuisine…the fact that it always pushes forward…waiting for none would than be put to rest because in fact if you didn’t catch it the first time around there is another opportunity. I think it is a rarity for people to come to the restaurant out of fear that they may lose the opportunity to sample a particular dish. It seems that most might appreciate the chance to eat dishes that they have missed. Why don’t we ask our Spanish friends how the el Bulli Hotel is doing? Are people interested in the idea of retrospective cuisine? That being said what if Alinea decided to cook classically for a short period of time? A couple of months ago a regular guest came in. Being that he had just eaten the tour a week prior we decided to cook one course very differently. For his “Honeycomb course” …instead of the Opah we roasted a whole lobe of Foie Gras…..it was beautiful….it was classical…and 17 cooks stood there in awe as Chef Peters portioned the lobe for four people….one saying…”why can’t you buy that anywhere…I would love to eat that” Is it about cooking? Or about cooking style? Can one restaurant be spontaneous with its style?
  13. but imagine if three great chefs opened a restaurant together….they all brought their strengths….their best dishes…and put them under one roof…how amazing would that be? ← that was my point exactly. ← Two chefs...it could only work with two.
  14. Why? Why wouldn't it be a restaurant where we offered tasting menus simular to what we do at Alinea ...but dishes of the past? Why do people want to make this cuisine "more approachable" Isn't that one aspect of what makes it special ..... it's un-approachability? Why turn it into a sushi concept of ordering it "by the peice" or large verions of the same food in an ala carte setting? Would it be the same? ← does ordering a great piece of toro nigiri (or 5!) make it less special because it is more approachable? I don't think so. In a tasting menu it makes sense to have an integrated whole that is composed and balanced -- and certainly a tasting menu could be available. But why not have the tapas/sushi bar of black truffle explosions etc.? Hell, I am at Alinea most days and I don't get to eat them! ← You of all people should know why it is more special to have a format that is controlled by the house. How special is the explosion when you can get a dozen of them at will? Ron—was the first or the second explosion better? Everyone has to admit there is something unique/special to a tasting menu format that an ala carte or tapas/sushi style service cannot provide.
  15. It wasn’t that long ago where you would never see another famous movie star in the same picture with other….now it is common…sometimes as many as 5 uber-stars in the same picture…do they bring more worth to the film? Does it draw more to watch it? Does it improve the quality of the picture? I am not sure ….but imagine if three great chefs opened a restaurant together….they all brought their strengths….their best dishes…and put them under one roof…how amazing would that be?
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