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Chef Achatz,

Thank you for joining us here on eGullet.

My question is not about dishes that have appeared on your menu, but about dishes that haven't and never will. You are working with a lot of variables--taste, texture, temperature, technique, and even technology. There must be experiments that end up failing to work out as you planned. I wonder if you could share with us some ideas that you had high hopes for that never made it out of the experimental phase and onto the menu. It would also be insightful to hear what went wrong.

On a related note, do you think there is a danger that if large numbers of restaurants begin to attempt a more experimental brand of cuisine that too many radical yet unworkable dishes will be created and put before the public palate? Is there a danger that this could lead to the dining public at large eventually dismissing the movement as a whole, instead of continuing to support the bright spots?

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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Honestly it is hard to recall the ones that didn't make it but I will try.

Dishes that failed:

a "Bubble" of pulled mozzarella cheese injected with tomato and basil. (don't rule this one out yet though.)

Thai pixi sticks

clear gelatin ravilois

crispy mustard - liquid hot dog

a version of egg drop soup where a custard was baked atop the broth in a thin layer. The guest would create the egg drop soup effect by mixing the set egg custard into the broth at the table.

Of course, there will always be ideas that fail. That is the spirit of invention. And sometimes things may make there way into the dinning room that should not be there. As far as disarming the movement of forward thinking cuisine I feel there will always be people that are more sucessful than others in the same category. I doubt if one or even many will falsify the movement, the ones that do it well will always be regarded, and patronized.


Grant Achatz



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