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Inside the Alinea Food Lab


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Fascinating thread!

I know it's a bit late, but I thought I would might contribute something about gelling agents, specifically agar.

In molecular biology research labs (I'm a student), we use agarose, which is basically the ultra pure/refined gelling component of agar. It forms a very tight matrix (we use it to separate molecules of DNA), and is very clear, almost transparent.

I don't know if this product is currently used in the food industry, but I think it is a ingredient which may be of interest...

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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I suppose there is the question of the intentions of the suppliers of the information - is it truly to provide insight into the process... or is it a viral marketing tactic? Are successes and failures truly represented in the documentation?

Even if it is, so what? Viral marketing is a legitmate form of advertising (and effective). In this case all parties benefit.

"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

http://www.matthewnehrlingmba.com

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Even if it is, so what?  Viral marketing is a legitmate form of advertising (and effective).  In this case all parties benefit.

I wasn't suggesting that it is nor does it matter to me either way - I was simply making a distinction between documentation for the purpose of documentation and documentation for the purpose of marketing in response to the previous post #69.

{edit} :

No, actually it's not completely true that it doesn't matter to me:

There are those who do things because that is what they truly believe and there are those who do what they believe will garner the best reaction.

It IS important ( to me at least ) to be able to distinguish between those who are sincere and those who are merely taking advantage of a public relations opportunity – and if both, to what degree each plays a role.

Edited by sizzleteeth (log)

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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I've never had the feeling that Achatz was anything but sincere.

Everything is about cross marketing these days but It seems that after that article in the F&W 10 best chefs ish with the 'Pastry Provocateurs' article that mentioned the Alinea kitchen concept, and the subsequent mention here on the 'gullet about it (scooped?) that chefG and EG decided to document the development and opening of it.

2317/5000

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I've never had the feeling that Achatz was anything but sincere.

I can agree with that - he seems genuinely interested in sharing many aspects of his work for more than the sake of "becoming famous".

I attended the cooking demo he and his team put on at The Chopping Block, preparing dishes that (at that time anyway), were said to be destined for the menu at Alinea.

In my eyes it was an opportunity to do more than sample the dishes - but to witness the process of the team making and plating the dishes and to get a feel for them as people.

The dishes were distinctive and enjoyable and the team was mild mannered in that setting, including Grant - not much of a trace of large ego and I have no reason to believe that is not typical.

"At the gate, I said goodnight to the fortune teller... the carnival sign threw colored shadows on her face... but I could tell she was blushing." - B.McMahan

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  • 1 month later...

chefG...

Firstly, I hope everything is moving ahead with Alinea and can't wait to read about the opening.

In the meantime I was hoping to get some advice on encapsulating liquids, namely green olive.

the chef I'm working with wanted some garnish for a martini and my exec PC & I set about making piquillo pearls or caviar and we were trying to come up with a green olive shape, we call them "lava lamp' shapes.

We rinsed the pitted olives free of oil and brine and then liquified and strained thru cheesecloth.

We finished off the olive liquid with a bit of brine from the holding liquid, it tasted great.

We found that our shapes were not setting up swell.

We upped the alginate in some more olive liquid, it did a bit better, but I wanted to try upping the calcium cholride in our setting solution, which my cochef didn't want to hit yet.

We were also trying to decide how to cure the look of it as it was slighly unappetizing visually (but that's another story).

So, any advice from yourself or any other interested parties in what could be the problem here?

Could it be residual oil from the olive cure or too much salinity?

Does anyone ever read a ph level for the C.C. solution?

Thanks in advance for any help, always much appreciated.

P.S. all was not lost.

The piquillo pearls made a great garnish for a cerviche!

chefG wrote on Oct.24, 2004...

Yes, very acturate digital scales are required for the measuring of most ingredients in the kitchen. All of our recipes are in metric and all of them are documented to the gram, some to the half gram if necessary. Your percentages seemed to be reversed. We basically use a 1% solution of alginate and a 2% calcium solution, but that can vary depending on what base liquid you are dealing with.

Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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