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Tsulli1

Tom Colicchio's new Coke Commercial

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From the Chicago Tribune's Food Blog

"Or is it? In an email, Achatz told the Tribune that he saw the commercial and he thought it was funny: "It's great to be recognized in pop culture and I look forward to doing a Pepsi commercial with will.i.am."

As for Colicchio?

We called him and he quickly dismissed that crazy notion of ours, that the ad was directed at Alinea. In fact, he said he and Achatz had already had quite the laugh over it. "I have nothing but respect for Grant," he said. "He is that rare chef who creates high concept food and makes it taste delicious. If anything, [the ad] is aimed at people who try to imitate the kind of sophisticated food that Grant does." Colicchio said he pretty much just showed up on the set of the commercial and played his part then left.

So, there you have it -- potential foodie scandal averted."

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I see nothing wrong with poking fun at food fads. Let's face it, many of us have been served meals that resembled architecture projects, used the technique of the day (wood planks anyone?) or have used exotic ingredients when all that was required to satisfy was good tasting food.

In twenty to thirty years time, will people look at molecular gastronomy with the same bemused eyes that we do with nouvelle cuisine?

It's just an advert, and it's humourous.....but like a few others, it's just a shame that it's done for the terrible tasting diet coke.


Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"

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In twenty to thirty years time, will people look at molecular gastronomy with the same bemused eyes that we do with nouvelle cuisine?

I'm always baffled when people assert that nouvelle cuisine had no lasting effect on culinary culture. It's not like we've all taken a reactionary stance against nouvelle cuisine by eliminating reduced sauces from our repertoire and returning to the wisdom of roux-thickened sauces!

Edit: Uh, that was a little off-topic, I guess. Anyway, the commercial's funny, and I agree with paulraphael that "good parody shows affection, not just scorn". I'm curious to know who the target audience is, though.


Edited by mkayahara (log)

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I'm with Chris. I was baffled and annoyed by the ad.

(Although I'm fine with a chef cashing in on his fame, though Batali's NASCAR lettuce made me roll my eyes, I remember the pasting Rick Bayless took when he developed a chicken sandwich for Burger King. And the man had given his fee away to charity!)

The statement Bayless released explaining his decision was worded in such a way as to suggest (to me) that he decided to put the money in the foundation after the backlash happened. I don't wish Bayless any ill, but that endorsement was a real mistake IMO.

Colicchio's explanation that the ad wasn't meant as a direct dig at Achatz sounds plausible enough to me. I still think it's weird to endorse such a crap product. He could at least have endorsed Coke Zero. :raz: Although, I seem to recall Achatz saying in an interview that he used to drink a lot of Diet Coke.

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The joke was that calling Alinea a fad restaurant is like calling Colicchio a steak-house king. Jeez.

I think many people would agree that molecular gastronomy is a fad, a current one that seems very popular. I think your taking the term as being a purely negative term but really I just meant it as its the hottest thing, the trendiest thing.

I personally love the style of Tom Collicchio's cooking and of his book "Think Like a Chef", and can identify with superbly prepared, simple seasonal dishes that seem to be his signature. That is something that CANNOT be identified as a "fad" because its a proven concept, and the human race has been eating seasonally for thousands of years.

I'm sorry if I've offended anyone by calling Alinea a fad.

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I think many people would agree that molecular gastronomy is a fad, a current one that seems very popular.

I am not so sure about that. Generally, a fad is a passing fancy that is sure to die off. I don't see how you'd conclude that—unless you just don't like it, and are expressing a wish that you hope will come true.

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I think it is highly unlikely that Colicchio would openly take a direct public shot at Alinea. Lets remember Colicchio's roots, which were Thomas Keller's sous chef. Taking a swipe at Achatz would be a little to close to home and I for one did not interpret the commercial that way.

For that matter the serving devices in the commercial are as similar to those at Blue Hill Stone Barns as those at Alinea.

If anything I found the commercial mocking those chefs attempting to jump on the Achatz bandwagon and doing it poorly.


Robert R

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I think many people would agree that molecular gastronomy is a fad, a current one that seems very popular. I think your taking the term as being a purely negative term but really I just meant it as its the hottest thing, the trendiest thing.

How would you define the fad? None of these chefs who get described by the term "molecular gastronomy" seems to embrace it. And the term was coined by people giving a talk on something completely unrelated to any style of cooking.

The cooks who get placed under this umbrella frequently have little in common, besides the desire to innovate. I don't see how radical innovation can be called a fad. Look at Adria, for example. He completely redefines his approach to cooking every year.

The commercial mocks pretentiousness ... which also, sadly, is not a fad. We've always had it, probably always will.


Notes from the underbelly

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In twenty to thirty years time, will people look at molecular gastronomy with the same bemused eyes that we do with nouvelle cuisine?

I'm always baffled when people assert that nouvelle cuisine had no lasting effect on culinary culture. It's not like we've all taken a reactionary stance against nouvelle cuisine by eliminating reduced sauces from our repertoire and returning to the wisdom of roux-thickened sauces!

I don't know whether you're including me as one of those who is asserting that nouvelle cuisine had no lasting effecxt on culinary culture, but I was thinking more along the lines that nouvelle cuisine had become a parody of itself, and that molecular gastronomy could head in the same direction. Any worthwhile contributions may be forgotten as people (and it's the general public) only remember and mock the excesses.

But even with the jokes aimed at nouvelle cuisine, chefs like Bocuse, Troisgros, Verge, and co. are still revered because their contributions had substance. If molecular gastronomy ends up in the popular culture as something to be laughed at, I'm sure that the likes of Adria, Blumenthal, Achatz, and co. will still be revered due to the value of their work.


Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"

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I didnt want this thread to turn out to be a discussion on whether Alinea is a trendy place or not, yes I am using the word trendy instead of fad because I see it as a better fit.

I just wanted to see if you guys thought it was as funny as I did. I dont think Tom Colicchio or Coke was trying to take a stab at a particular chef, only at that style of restaurant.


Edited by gotsum411 (log)

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I laughed out loud. The commercial is damned funny. They are clearly poking fun at those who dream of achieving success but only have the trappings (challenging custom tabletop accoutrements, architectural platings) but not the talent. If they really wanted to make fun of a particular chef they could have gotten a lookalike to play the part, and show them furrowing their brow in the kitchen over some lab type set up with beakers, burners, things bubbling and smoking, etc. and then sending out a small sphere of food. Only a select few would have gotten the joke, but it's likely the same select segment that are getting this joke.

Not sure what any of this has to do with Diet Coke. I agree Coke Zero would have been a better choice.


Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Why is it being assumed that the "swipe" was at Alinea's expense, and not one of the many other MG restaurants, or MG as a whole?

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Why is it being assumed that the "swipe" was at Alinea's expense, and not one of the many other MG restaurants, or MG as a whole?

I think those who are making that claim are primarily basing it on the fact that there are alinea-specific instruments/serving pieces shown in the commercial. In particular, this peculiar contraption.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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"You are assuming that "sell out" and "earn an honest living" are synonymous. I don't think they are. Normally, the definition of "sell out" is to do something so alien to your values that "cashing in" is the only conceivable explanation. If Colicchio were hawking Swanson's Fish Sticks, that would be selling out. Appearing as a judge on Top Chef is not."

Your assumptions are silly. Your definitions are confused. Collichio is a celebrity chef, a brand name, and a businessman. Fish sticks, Coke, what's the difference?? He did it FOR MONEY. Hawking Coke has NOTHING to do with being a chef. He did it for the love of cash. Good for him I might add..

I'm sure he thanks God every night for the gig on Top Chef...it's made him a celebrity, and gets him priceless free advertizing for his business ventures...he's one smart dude, he's WAY MORE than just a successful chef.

"Then I guess you consider his restaurants on par with Macaroni grill and Olive Garden? "

Another nonsensical statement...you would know better than me.

"Tom Colicchio is the main reason Top Chef has any culinary credibility or relevance"

Culinary relevance??? Get real, it's entertainment..it's a "reality show"!!!

There is a credible and relevant art form!! HAHA!

Look, i like top chef, i like colicchio. if he wants to hawk coke, good for him. lighten up..

"


Edited by Heartsurgeon (log)

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"You are assuming that "sell out" and "earn an honest living" are synonymous. I don't think they are. Normally, the definition of "sell out" is to do something so alien to your values that "cashing in" is the only conceivable explanation. If Colicchio were hawking Swanson's Fish Sticks, that would be selling out. Appearing as a judge on Top Chef is not."

Your assumptions are silly. Your definitions are confused. Collichio is a celebrity chef, a brand name, and a businessman. Fish sticks, Coke, what's the difference?? He did it FOR MONEY. Hawking Coke has NOTHING to do with being a chef. He did it for the love of cash. Good for him I might add..

I'm sure he thanks God every night for the gig on Top Chef...it's made him a celebrity, and gets him priceless free advertizing for his business ventures...he's one smart dude, he's WAY MORE than just a successful chef.

"Then I guess you consider his restaurants on par with Macaroni grill and Olive Garden? "

Another nonsensical statement...you would know better than me.

"Tom Colicchio is the main reason Top Chef has any culinary credibility or relevance"

Culinary relevance??? Get real, it's entertainment..it's a "reality show"!!!

There is a credible and relevant art form!! HAHA!

Look, i like top chef, i like colicchio. if he wants to hawk coke, good for him. lighten up..

"

Maybe he just likes Diet Coke.

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I've seen it and find it baffling. I'm no longer prone to criticize chefs who grab the brass ring as "selling out," but the crack at Alinea seems misplaced. Most Diet Coke drinkers wouldn't know Alinea from Craft, and they certainly wouldn't recognize the shrimp nest doohickies as a reference to Alinea's tableware. Rest assured that taste is a critical element of the Alinea experience -- which doesn't include tableside flambé.  What market share are they going for here -- and is it worth coming off as a snide jerk for dissing one of the best restaurants in the U.S.?

As for Alinea being a "fad restaurant" (which I'd argue it most certainly is not), methinks steak-house king Colicchio lives in a glass house. And speaking of fads, last time I checked, Colicchio, not Achatz, was the TV reality judge. Getting into a smackdown with Achatz about taste seems like a dicey proposition for him...

I completely agree, Chris. I'm getting more than a little tired of cheap shots aimed mainly at Achatz by people who have elsewhere pandered to the practice of "molecular gastronomy." The ad implies that this sort of presentation is preposterously theatrical - surely nothing of which Top Chef could ever be accused! I'm not very fond of Top Chef, but I've always had respect for Colicchio, and this is disappointing. As far as the argument that "well, he didn't write the ad" - I'm sure that he didn't, but no one held a gun to his head to make him appear in it, either. If anyone doesn't want to eat or do this style of cooking, that's fine - but to disrespect another chef's creativity and vision is beyond tacky.


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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I've seen it and find it baffling. I'm no longer prone to criticize chefs who grab the brass ring as "selling out," but the crack at Alinea seems misplaced. Most Diet Coke drinkers wouldn't know Alinea from Craft, and they certainly wouldn't recognize the shrimp nest doohickies as a reference to Alinea's tableware. Rest assured that taste is a critical element of the Alinea experience -- which doesn't include tableside flambé.  What market share are they going for here -- and is it worth coming off as a snide jerk for dissing one of the best restaurants in the U.S.?

As for Alinea being a "fad restaurant" (which I'd argue it most certainly is not), methinks steak-house king Colicchio lives in a glass house. And speaking of fads, last time I checked, Colicchio, not Achatz, was the TV reality judge. Getting into a smackdown with Achatz about taste seems like a dicey proposition for him...

I completely agree, Chris. I'm getting more than a little tired of cheap shots aimed mainly at Achatz by people who have elsewhere pandered to the practice of "molecular gastronomy." The ad implies that this sort of presentation is preposterously theatrical - surely nothing of which Top Chef could ever be accused! I'm not very fond of Top Chef, but I've always had respect for Colicchio, and this is disappointing. As far as the argument that "well, he didn't write the ad" - I'm sure that he didn't, but no one held a gun to his head to make him appear in it, either. If anyone doesn't want to eat or do this style of cooking, that's fine - but to disrespect another chef's creativity and vision is beyond tacky.

Why would you be all burned up if Achatz isn't?

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I thought it was a hoot so funny at the end and i took it for what it was a diet coke t.v. ad did not look any further.

It did do what a commercial is suppose to do though and based on this thread pretty well - it has us talking.

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I've seen it and find it baffling. I'm no longer prone to criticize chefs who grab the brass ring as "selling out," but the crack at Alinea seems misplaced. Most Diet Coke drinkers wouldn't know Alinea from Craft, and they certainly wouldn't recognize the shrimp nest doohickies as a reference to Alinea's tableware. Rest assured that taste is a critical element of the Alinea experience -- which doesn't include tableside flambé.  What market share are they going for here -- and is it worth coming off as a snide jerk for dissing one of the best restaurants in the U.S.?

As for Alinea being a "fad restaurant" (which I'd argue it most certainly is not), methinks steak-house king Colicchio lives in a glass house. And speaking of fads, last time I checked, Colicchio, not Achatz, was the TV reality judge. Getting into a smackdown with Achatz about taste seems like a dicey proposition for him...

I completely agree, Chris. I'm getting more than a little tired of cheap shots aimed mainly at Achatz by people who have elsewhere pandered to the practice of "molecular gastronomy." The ad implies that this sort of presentation is preposterously theatrical - surely nothing of which Top Chef could ever be accused! I'm not very fond of Top Chef, but I've always had respect for Colicchio, and this is disappointing. As far as the argument that "well, he didn't write the ad" - I'm sure that he didn't, but no one held a gun to his head to make him appear in it, either. If anyone doesn't want to eat or do this style of cooking, that's fine - but to disrespect another chef's creativity and vision is beyond tacky.

Why would you be all burned up if Achatz isn't?

" If anyone doesn't want to eat or do this style of cooking, that's fine - but to disrespect another chef's creativity and vision is beyond tacky."

In case that didn't say why it bothers me clearly enough, I am not a food professional, but I am an artist and a student of creative process, and it bothers me a lot when anyone, chef or any other creative person, is mocked for doing something new or different. As I've said often elsewhere, I was initially as surprised and suspicious of "molecular gastronomy" as anyone - until I had some good and surprising food. The bottom line obviously is "does it taste good?" - if the answer is yes, the approach doesn't mean a thing.


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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I thought it was a hoot so funny at the end and i took it for what it was a diet coke t.v. ad did not look any further.

It did do what a commercial is suppose to do though and based on this thread pretty well -  it has us talking.

I was under the impression that a commercial is supposed to make you buy the product. Then again, the number of times that I've actually bought a productbased on a commercial is so small as to be statistically insignificant.

At any rate, we're not talking about Diet Coke very much - we're talking about Colicchio.

Oh yeah, I can't stand and wouldn't ever drink Diet Coke - even with a big hunk of lime and Captain Morgan.

MAYBE with a LOT of Captain Morgan, if truly desperate.


"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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In twenty to thirty years time, will people look at molecular gastronomy with the same bemused eyes that we do with nouvelle cuisine?

I'm always baffled when people assert that nouvelle cuisine had no lasting effect on culinary culture. It's not like we've all taken a reactionary stance against nouvelle cuisine by eliminating reduced sauces from our repertoire and returning to the wisdom of roux-thickened sauces!

I don't know whether you're including me as one of those who is asserting that nouvelle cuisine had no lasting effecxt on culinary culture, but I was thinking more along the lines that nouvelle cuisine had become a parody of itself, and that molecular gastronomy could head in the same direction. Any worthwhile contributions may be forgotten as people (and it's the general public) only remember and mock the excesses.

But even with the jokes aimed at nouvelle cuisine, chefs like Bocuse, Troisgros, Verge, and co. are still revered because their contributions had substance. If molecular gastronomy ends up in the popular culture as something to be laughed at, I'm sure that the likes of Adria, Blumenthal, Achatz, and co. will still be revered due to the value of their work.

What's funny here is that people consider MG "Avant Garde". If you search for posts here with "Sodium Alginate" in them you will discover a discussion of how Burger King has always used it in the extruding process in their onion rings. If you look on the ingredients of everyone's favorite Thai hot sauce you will find Xanthem Gum. The phenomena of MG isn't really a phenomena at all. This stuff has simply left the big test kitchens and found its way into restaurants. I find it funny that people are gaga over Sous Vide, which has been around for a long, long, time. It's only our awareness and perceptions that have changed. Long after sferifications and other obvious displays have passed the limelight, the science will remain behind.

As for Collichio, who among us would turn down a coke endorsement contract? I don't begrudge anyone turning their hard work into profit.


Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

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I thought it was a hoot so funny at the end and i took it for what it was a diet coke t.v. ad did not look any further.

It did do what a commercial is suppose to do though and based on this thread pretty well -  it has us talking.

I was under the impression that a commercial is supposed to make you buy the product. Then again, the number of times that I've actually bought a productbased on a commercial is so small as to be statistically insignificant.

At any rate, we're not talking about Diet Coke very much - we're talking about Colicchio.

Oh yeah, I can't stand and wouldn't ever drink Diet Coke - even with a big hunk of lime and Captain Morgan.

MAYBE with a LOT of Captain Morgan, if truly desperate.

Yes it is suppose to make you buy the product but it first has to grab interest - and it has done just that - from the post most people that know who Tom is do not drink it hence if you see someone you know and maybe even respect his "taste" you might give it a shot.

Then you have the group who will have it around because of the people who are pitching the product - I know sad but true people have things or buys things based on that idea alone "Well so and so drinks this so it must be good". Kinda like wine if all the stars and chefs are drinking it I need to have it in my kichten.

Like all products it must have a buzz - the company is hoping that they can reach maybe a new market or open one back up for people who thought they did not like it to begin with and might give it a second go around.

I worked for Cocoa-Cola for a few years and believe me they like all the talk. I have tried diet coke a bunch and have never cared for it - in fact i was working for the company when it first came out in the early 80's and i still do not like it or any other diet sodas on the market but that does not mean i do not enjoy the ad nor can ingore that they are millions of diet coke fans out in the world today.

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It's a coke commercial. No more, no less. People need to relax. Stress is the leading cause of heart disease... unless burger king's molecular onion rings have moved them to the top. :raz:


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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