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It's All In The Presentation

Tuesday, March 08, 2011 - 12:22 PM

Today, Leonard spoke to chef Grant Achatz, whose restaurant, Alinea, is consistently named one of the best restaurants in America for its creative takes on traditional food. Achatz is known as one of the leaders of molecular gastronomy, which places an emphasis on the chemical properties of food. Molecular gastronomists like Achatz are often known for their elaborate, almost surreal plating techniques.

Achatz said during the interview that he discovered early on that, "There's more that you can do with food than just sustain people."

Below, we've posted images of some of our favorite Achatz meals. But we want to hear from you! What are some of the most memorable meals or food presentations you've ever seen? Let us know in the comments, post a picture to our Facebook page, or e-mail us. We might even make a slideshow of our favorite submissions!

Lara Kastner (Gotham Publishers)
Hearts of Palm

Hearts of Palm, five different ways, at Grant Achatz's Alinea.

Lara Kastner (Gotham Publishers)
Hot Potato, Cold Potato

Hot Potato, Cold Potato at Grant Achatz's Alinea.

Lara Kastner (Gotham Publishers)
Pheasant

Pheasant tempura-fried with cider gel and shallot, impaled on a flaming oak leaf at Grant Achatz's Alinea.

Lara Kastner (Gotham Publishers)
Candy Cap Mushroom Ice Cream

Candy Cap Mushroom Ice Cream at Grant Achatz's Alinea.

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Comments [4]

Donald Carlo from Trenton NJ

I always heard smell was as important as taste in enjoying food. If he could smell did he still had a part of sensiing flavors?

Mar. 08 2011 07:59 PM
jeangaijin from Rockaway, NJ

My most memorable meal ever was during my five-year stay in Japan, in a very high-end Japanese restaurant that was modeled on a old teahouse; i.e. several small separate buildings surrounded by beautiful gardens. The food was served in many small courses, each course more delicious and more artistically presented than the last. The garnish for one course was rice, still on the stalk, that had been quickly immersed in hot oil so it had "popped," and I remember a whole grilled fish that was presented on a bed of smooth river stones. A new slightly-bigger-than-morsel-sized course appeared in the hands of the lovely kimono-clad waitresses about every 20 minutes or so, leading me to dreamily note to my friends that I could probably keep eating at this pace forever. The food, the beautiful surroundings, the service are still all fresh in my mind after more than 20 years; alas, the name or location of the restaurant is gone forever!

Mar. 08 2011 03:51 PM
Andy from Brooklyn

Being a creative chef as you are, and me being a poor artist as I am, would you have a good recommendation for what to do with ramen noodles?

Mar. 08 2011 01:48 PM
geo from astoria

What does Alinea mean?
is it a greek word?

Mar. 08 2011 01:41 PM

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The Lodown is a blog about everything brought to you by the staff of the Leonard Lopate Show (Leonard will even drop by from time to time)! We cover food, art, politics, history, science and much more -- literally everything from Picasso to pork pies. Tips and suggestions are welcome so please send us your thoughts, curiosities and intellectual detritus!

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