Monday, November 3, 2008

Alinea the Book

With the release of Grant Achatz's new Alinea cookbook, and the companion website Mosaic, a great service has been done for those wishing to gain an understanding of Postmodernist cuisine.

Achatz and his business partner, Nick Kokonas, self published and by doing so, have achieved a level of control and freedom that is unprecedented in the annals of book publishing. And it is that freedom and control that is allowing them to utilize the internet as they see fit to create an online Alinea community. Also by publishing in this manner, they have been able to keep the price at $50.00 or under, no small feat when contemporary chef/restaurant books of this quality and scope sell in the $200.00 plus range.

To quote Kokonas, "What we are trying to do here is much more than publishing a book, because with the website, we're going to be adding to the book continuously after the publication date. What we're most excited about is the chance to build an Alinea community. We've already started to do that with the restaurant, and now with the book and the website, we can take that community to a whole new level."

For many the book will serve primarily as a portal into a genre of cuisine practiced by Achatz and other chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Wylie Dufresne and Homero Cantu, not to mention Feran Adria, whose El Bulli books are mind blowing in there owm right.
The New York Times writer Julia Moskin recently pointed out in an article titled "Some Heavy Reading, Recipes Included." covering several new cookbooks, that attempting to prepare many of the recipes from this book is a daunting task. Some recipes have over 20 sub recipes that require completion before assembling the final product. But there are also quite a few simpler recipes with easy to follow instructions, and on the Mosaic website, video tutorials. I hope that even if one does not attempt many of the recipes, a better understanding of creativity and craftsmanship and an inspiration to explore will be obtained.

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