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.

Recommended Posts


Thank you so much for the time and effort you are giving these Q and A.

We are lucky enough to be long term customers of the French Laundry and have been the recipient of many 5 hour plus meals. I would imagine we have crossed paths many times and look forward to a trip to Chicago and the Tour de Force.

Being such an integral part of the French Laundry family for almost 5 years, Thomas must have been a major influence in your development as a chef.

What elements of Thomas' approach to cooking do you continue to embrace? What do you feel has been his greatest contribution to your evolution as a chef? In what ways have you evolved in a different direction and would you credit Adria et al for this divergence?

One difference that I note is derived from Keller's statement that he finds passion in the everyday routine of cooking and derives "deep gratification from the mundane." From your answers, your approach seems more cerebral and more dependent upon seeking new and different ways of manipulating ingredients. Is this a misreading of your approach?

Link to post
Share on other sites


Thomas is THE influence in my development as a chef. My time spent with him was one of ultimate learning and growth.

It was more than cooking at TFL. It was Thomas washing pots, and doing dishes when the guys were is the shits, Thomas mopping the floor when something spilled, working like a madman 6-7 days a week (14 services), picking up a gum wrapper in the driveway, cleaning the blender and wrapping the cord when he was finished so it looked brand new, taking the time to show the chef de parties exactly how he wanted something done and why he wanted it that way, the respect he gave the cooks, the trust he had in their abilities, the way he looked at food..I mean looked at it ..like it was a diamond ring, the way he would do the "bottom of the barrel" so to speak jobs in the kitchen..peeling favas ..cutting brunoise the stuff the commis did, the way he got upset when something went wrong, how he talked to the guests when they came back to the kitchen , the way he thought about food, his generosity, all of this stuff.. plus the way he cooked.

That may be the the most glaring difference between him (at this stage in his career) and myself where I am now, the way he feels about repetoire, signature dishes and creating the "perfect dish". He owns many, and why wouldn't anyone want to show the world those perfect dishes? Furthermore, does one tire of eating a perfect dish? I can't count how many cornets , oyster and pearls, mac and cheese, coffee and donuts, agnolotti, and so on I have eaten. I totally respect his position, and maybe someday I will adopt it. But for right now I want to create constantly, I would rather not have signature dishes, only a signature style. Just like he did when he was at my career stage?....


Grant Achatz



Link to post
Share on other sites


You have captured the spirit of Thomas "perfectly!" I wish every aspiring chef would understand what Thomas loves doing and what you obviously incorporate as well. No wonder that Thomas speaks of you with pride. You definitely deserve it.

I understand your need to create constantly, but you mention a signature style. I am trying to understand it in the context of your exposure to Thomas's influence as well as other cuisines. Let it be said that I am a fervent admirer of Gagnaire, had 2 incredible meals at Adria and one in 2001 that I was less impressed with, think Trama is underrated and so on and so on.

Given the above, what do you characterize as your signature style? I know it is so much more than the "molecular gastronomy" mode and I certainly don't want to put you into a box, but I would greatly appreciate it if you could better define "signature style."

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By eG Forums Host
      Modernist Cuisine at the eGullet Forums
      Here at eG Forums, we have what is probably the broadest collection of information on modernist cooking anywhere. We've discussed sous vide, the general chemistry of culinary modernism, practical applications with colloids and starches, and much, much more. A lot of this discussion is contained in our topics about the books Modernist Cuisine and Modernist Cuisine at Home (we have topics on both the books and on cooking with the recipes they present), but we've been modern since before modern was cool -- click on the 'Recent discussions tagged "Modernist"' link at the bottom of this page for a small sampling of what we've been up to. And feel free to use the Search tool at the top of the page to look for specific terms or people.

      Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet

      Support eG, buy the book at Amazon.com
      About the original book (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
      Cooking the recipes from the book (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
      A Q&A with the Modernist Cuisine team

      Modernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan Myhrvold with Maxime Bilet

      Support eG, buy the book at Amazon.com
      About the book
      Cooking the recipes from the book (Part 1, Part 2)

      Other Modernist-related topics:
      Recent discussions tagged "Modernist"
      Sous Vide discussion index
    • By Porthos
      I picked up enough boneless short ribs to make 3 meals for my Sweetie and me. One meal will be pan-braised tonight. One has been vacuum-sealed and is in the freezer. My question is about seasoning, sealing, freezing, then defrosting and cooking at a later date. I'd like to season and seal the 3rd meal's worth. Can I use a dry rub on the meat, then seal, freeze, and cook at a later date? Does anyone else do this?
    • By newchef
      So I've now found myself at the water's edge of Modernist Cuisine.  Specifically, using sodium citrate for emulsifying all kinds of cheeses.  What I'm after is making an emulsified Parmesan sauce as well as another emulsified cheese sauce (most likely using Cheddar or Colby) that I can freeze and use later.  I'm a single guy and am no stranger of tweaking recipes for freezing but I haven't done it for modernist stuff yet.  I'd love to make a big batch of cheese sauce, freeze it into ice cubes for up to 3 months or so, and then take a few cubes out to thaw on a weeknight and toss with pasta, drizzle over veggies, etc.
      I looked at the modernist cuisine FAQ and saw this specific post about the cheese sauce that is "probably" freeze-able because it uses something called carageenan.  Has anyone been able to freeze sauce and keep it frozen for, say, a few months?  And not have to use carageenan?
    • By WackGet
      Recently I picked up a few different types of emulsifiers in bulk powder form when I saw them in passing at a catering wholesaler.
      Having never used powdered emulsifiers before in cooking or baking, I figured I'd find pretty comprehensive instructions for their use on the web - but I can't.
      I'm not a stranger to food science but nor am I a chemist. I understand that emulsifiers are at least sometimes prepared by pre-mixing them into a (heated?) liquid or fat and then using the resulting solution in the actual recipe, which may explain why a lot of commercial emulsifier mixtures are packages as tubes of gel or paste. I've also checked several industry-level textbooks about emulsifiers and while they are fantastic for in-depth explanations of the chemistry behind each emulsifier, they do not (as you might imagine) provide guidance on how a lowly baker or cook would actually use a powdered form.
      So does anyone know how to prepare and use a dry powdered form of any of the following in a real recipe?
      Specifically I am most interested in enhancing baked goods and adding stability to sauces, but would also like to know how to use them for other processes such as sausage-making too.
      E471 Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids E481 Sodium stearoyl lactylate E482 Calcium stearoyl lactylate E472e DATEM (diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides)
    • By mjbarnard
      I cooked two turkey breasts sous vide. This year had access to the Meater+ thermometer probe which I managed to vacuum seal in the bag without difficulty (it is small). Since it works wirelessly I was able to monitor and it records the internal temperatures at the thickest part of the breast.
      I thought the results were interesting. I cooked at 60C for 8 hours. I have always used https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/a-better-way-to-turkey-cook-that-bird-sous-vide-for-the-best-feast-ever which gives long cooking times at lower temperature. I have found that as according to this page https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/11/sous-vide-turkey-breast-crispy-skin-recipe-thanksgiving.html that 55C gives turkey which is just a little too pink for most tastes. Over the last few years have increased the temperature up to 59/60 and I find it perfect - very moist and tender, but pale not pink.
      See attached images. I changed my mind a couple of times and started at 58 then 60 then 59 again, so ignore the slight variations. The thing I found interesting was that the thickest part (of a large breast) reached 55C in around 1 hour 40 mins and target of 59 in 2 hours 30 mins. Now I appreciate that sous vide is a combination of temperature and time or duration, but the data make me think that around 4 hours would be sufficient, as per the seriouseats table. I have previously used the chefsteps 55-58 for their much longer advised times, up to 12 hours and the meat is still quite pink at the end, so I dont believe 55 for 12 hours would effectively be the same.
      From now on I will watching the internal temperatures with interest. This has always been the (relative) unkown for sous vide amateurs. 

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...