Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Mariani Takes On...Achatz, Myhrvold, et.al.


Recommended Posts

In his Esquire blog piece of March 18, 2011, John Mariani, the erstwhile restaurant critic, takes on "Modernist Cuisine", modernist cuisine, Grant Achatz, and a lot more.

With lines like this...

To go by their pronouncements, the molecular/avant-gardiste chefs never approach a perfect ingredient as something to be treated in a simple way that retains essential flavors.

I have to disagree. Because sometimes it is about coaxing the maximum flavor of that perfect ingredient, as when something as simple as a carrot is cooked sous-vide.

He then goes on to slam Grant Achatz pretty vehemently, ending by writing...

Which puts into question the integrity of just about anything and everything Achatz and Kokonas write about in their self-serving memoir. Perhaps the book should have been called Life, on a Lie.

Some pretty harsh words, don't you think? So, is he onto something, or is it all sour grapes for reasons we mere mortals are not privy to?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really feels like he's tilting at windmills. I don't want to waste my breath, but this is just preposterous.

[W]hat exactly has been the effect and influence of the modernist/molecular chefs' ideas on other chefs? The simple answer is: next to zero.

Yet he goes even further in response to Eater's questions:

t really was about modernist/avant garde/science fiction cuisine...Having tasted a great deal of it, my real point was that these guys have had zero influence — zero — on the world of cooking despite what the media say about how they have changed the way we eat in the 21st century. There isn't a shred of evidence that that's true.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As always, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.


It was interesting reading the relevant section of Life, on the Line immediately after reading Mariani's rant, thereby getting two sides of the story. My gut feeling is that if what was written in the book were actionable, Mariani wouldn't be writing about it on his blog: his lawyers would be talking to Achatz and Kokonas' lawyers.

Matthew Kayahara



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like they have some issues with each other, but I'm not sure why the rest of us should care.

Sous vide a shortcut? Ya think??

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did a (very funny) interview with Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas last week. Nick, unprompted, defended Nathan Myrhvold and you can tell by the tone of the interview they are not by any stretch of the imagination, "insufferable".


Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Similar Content

    • By Anonymous Modernist 16589
      I'm looking to buy some new pots and pans and would like to tap into your knowledege and experiance with them. Which pans tend to yield the best and most consistant results. Same for pots. Any and all recommendations would be greatly appriciated, thank you in advance.
      Herman 8D
    • By Doodad
      Has anybody tried making a dark roux in a pressure cooker? Can this be done without scortching do you think? I have made roux in the oven before and started wondering about this topic.
    • By kostbill
      I really want to improve the flavor of my chicken breast so I want to try to inject brine with fat and flavors.
      I would like to try brining with some hydrocolloids. The one example I found is this: https://torontofoodlab.com/2013/08/20/meat-tenderizing-with-a-carrageenan-brine/.
      However I cannot apply that to my chicken breast because I am cooking it sous vide, so the chicken will not reach the temperature needed for the carrageenan to gel.
      I am thinking of using Methyl cellulose, first disperse in hot water, then leave it for 24 hours in the fridge, then add salt, fat and flavors and inject it.
      I am afraid that until it reaches the 50C or 60C that the Methyl cellulose needs in order to gel, the liquid will escape.
      Any ideas?
    • By Anonymous Modernist 760
      Thanks for putting up this forum 🙂
      I would like to bake using a combination of sous vide and a conventional oven. Would it be possible to put the dough in a vacuum bag cook it sous vide at 37C for the dough to raise optimal and then put it in a conventional oven?
    • By PedroG
      Olla podrida sous vide
      Not rotten pot, but mighty or rich pot! Originated in 16th century Spain, olla poderida became olla podrida and was falsely translated into French as pot-pourri.
      For two servings
      * 100g Brisket well marbled, cooked SV 48h/55°C, large dice †
      * 100g Pork meat well marbled, cooked SV 24h/55°C, large dice †
      * 100g Lamb chops without bone, cooked SV 4h/55°C, large dice †
      * 100g Chicken breast, cooked SV 2h/58°C, large dice †
      * 100g Chorizo, sliced approximately 4mm †
      * 125g Chickpeas (garbanzos), soaked overnight in water †
      * 1 Onion chopped medium-fine †
      * ½ Savoy cabbage approx. 200g cut into pieces, thick leaf veins removed
      * ½ Celeriac approx. 200g quartered, sliced about 2mm
      * 2 Carrots sliced approximately 120g about 3mm
      * 1 Leek approximately 20cm / 100g sliced about 5mm
      * Extra virgin olive oil
      * Rice bran oil
      * Dried parsley qs, aromatic, black pepper
      † Beef, pork, lamb and chicken (or at least two kinds of meat) as well as chorizo, chickpeas and onions are mandatory ingredients, other vegetables vary according to desire and availability.
      Boil chickpeas in water for 30-60 min.
      Sauté onions in olive oil, add chorizo, continue sautéing, add chickpeas including its cooking water, add remaining vegetables, cover and cook to the desired softness, stir from time to time. If additional liquid is needed, you may add Sherry instead of water.
      Reduce heat. Season to taste. Add parsley.
      In a heavy skillet, sear the meat dice in just smoking hot rice bran oil (very high smoking point allows very quick sear, not overdoing the center of the meat).
      Sear one kind of meat at a time and transfer to the pan with the vegetables.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...