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GRANT ACHATZ was named one of the best new chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2002. He received the James Beard Rising Star Chef award in 2003; the Best Chef/Great Lakes award in 2007; and the top honor, Outstanding Chef in the United States, in 2008. Before opening Alinea in 2005, Achatz was sous chef at the French Laundry and the executive chef of Trio in Chicago. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.


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97 internautes sur 99 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A book designed to inspire 17 octobre 2008
Par Cookbook Gal - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
What this book is: a gorgeous, coffee table quality book at a fantastic price. It is geared toward serious foodies and cooks. In my opinion, it is intended to inspire, and to help improve the skills of home cooks who are daring enough to try the recipes.

What this book is not: an everyday or family-type cookbook. If you are looking for a book like that, with great recipes that work, check out some of the America's Test Kitchen books. Think of it this way: if you want practical shoes, buy sneakers, not 5-inch stilettos. This book falls in the stiletto category.

At first glance, the book is intimidating: beautifully constructed dishes, artfully photographed. When I actually bothered to read the introduction (lesson: read the intro materials!), I saw that the authors: (1) duplicated the Alinea recipes, but scaled them down when possible for home use; (2) intended that the book be a springboard for your own creativity. In other words, some of these dishes have multiple elements, but you don't have to make all of them. An example cited in a section entitled "How to Use this Book," involves adaptations made to a truffle broth (using commercial button mushrooms) for a Thanksgiving dinner at home. They don't tell you how to adapt the recipes, so you have to be an experienced and/or adventurous home cook to figure out how to do this by yourself.

The recipes call for a lot of commercial equipment, but again, the intro explains how you can pull together home equivalents, and clarifies that Alinea uses the commercial equipment to maintain consistency for the volume of food that it produces. You still have to be pretty dedicated to go through all the home-cook modifications if you want actually to make some of these dishes.

The cookbook is arranged seasonally, so the dishes are organized under Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer.

The recipes require many weird ingredients (e.g.,citric acid, agar agar, lecithin - and those are the less weird ones!). They are explained, not in a glossary in the back of the book, but in another section in the introductory material. Some sources are listed, but the important thing to note is that the authors have set up a website that they want readers to use in conjunction with the book, and that site will give sources and other advice: [...]

The negatives include: (1) a microscopic font size on dark gray pages, which makes it hard to read the recipes, and (2) weak cross referencing. By that I mean, if a recipe component is a truffle broth, they do not cite the page for the truffle broth recipe - you have to go to the index, look that up, and rifle through the book.

Books of this quality (like the El Bulli books) sell for a LOT more. This book is almost a steal at this price, and it could push your cooking to a whole new level if you actually give the recipes a shot.
33 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
It's Like Being A Mad Scientist, but You Get To Impress Your Friends and Eat the Results, Too! 6 février 2009
Par Amy Senk - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Like most foodies, I was well aware of Grant Achatz and his amazing Chicago restaurant, Alinea, even though I haven't eaten there and live 2,000 miles away. Word of this cookbook was buzzing about for months, and we were anxious to get it and look at it and...well...be amazed. Just by looking at it.

But a funny thing happened, which was a blogger we love, Carol Blymire, decided that after cooking and blogging her way through The French Laundry Cookbook, she was going to take on the Alinea book. Now, suddenly, this complicated book became a kind of ongoing educational text. And as Carol tried out the recipes, we then pulled out our copy and tried the recipes, too.

Achatz is known for molecular gastronomy, which means he uses chemicals and innovative tools to turn a meal into an explosion of flavor and surprise. This book shows his food being served so it looks like something from outer space; and there is a section that discusses things you might never really buy, but which he uses, like antigriddles, which freezes food instantly.

It's fun to take a book that seems so extreme and out of our comfort zone as home chefs, and to prepare actual recipes from it. This book has us ordering crazy ingredients, and doing things like turning homemade caramel into a powdery shotglass of yumminess.

We've had a blast with the Alinea cookbook, and I highly suggest buying it and having fun. Read Carol's blog, AlineaAtHome.com, for inspiration, and try out a recipe or two on your own. We went from thinking it was a book to look at only, to having our children use some of the recipes (a cracker one, for example) to create their own snacks.

Definitely, one of our favorite cookbooks of all times.
57 internautes sur 67 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
impressive 14 juin 2009
Par Jackal - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This books has several hundred detailed descriptions of molecular gastronomy dishes. As others have pointed out these are not likely to be cooked, but they could be. The correct end result is always presented by instructive pictures.

I will not give the current book more than three stars. If you are an aspiring MG chef, clearly this is a must buy due to the quality of the recipes. I've eaten in the restaurant so I can attest to this fact. What about the rest of us?

Most customers would do better buying Adria's A Day at El Bulli and/or Blumenthal's The Fat Duck Cookbook. They provide more insight on the creative process, especially Blumenthal. Adria is interesting because he arguably created the MG cooking, A better understanding of the creative process in the kitchen is the most important learning in these books. Their approach is so different from the traditional apprentice model. Achatz provides a few reflections on the creative process and that is interesting. However, the first sections of the book read like a marketing brochure and Achatz is raised to the sky by a number of guest-authors. That is very dull reading. It is also sad the we don't hear the voice of Achatz more. Blumenthal and Adria come across as living human beings. Achatz is so much more anonomous. I'm not interested in a biography, but how he thinks about creativity, etc. I want to hear his voice. He is still a very young chef, so I'm sure that will come when he gets more maturity.

If you actually want to cook MG recipes (and have the equipment), I would go with Achatz rather than Blumenthal because of the larger amount of recipes and better pictures. Adria's book doesn't have many recipes at all, but of course Adria also has several recipe collections.

The binding of this book is just awful and will break very quicky. But then again this book is very cheap compared to the competitors. Still I would have preferred a slighly more expensive book that has a decent binding.

UPDATE: Despite its high price Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking should probably be the first book you buy if you are interested in molecular/modernist gastronomy.
16 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An incredible book, don't write it off as too complex 17 octobre 2008
Par T. Teass - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Don't get discouraged at the complexity of some of the recipes in this book. Achatz and his team use a lot of agar agar and gelatin in their methods, both of which can be found at the grocery store. Many of the food additives which sound scary at first can be found quite easily online, and you can oftentimes get free samples which will be more than enough to experiment with.

This book is an amazing testament to the highest standard of American cooking at the moment. Like the French Laundry book, finesse and attention to detail are what sets the Alinea book apart from all the rest. The fact that we now have some access into their kitchen is awesome, so try out some of the recipes, I'm sure you'll be amazed.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Absolutly Amazing 15 octobre 2008
Par Brandon Dorsey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This book is awsome!I've been waiting to get my hands on a molecular gastronomy book for a while (the el bulli books are like 100 to 300 dollars). As for the gadgets and additives, in part of the intro on "how to use this book" they mention you can use a cookie sheet on top of dry ice and for an immersion circulator just a pot of water and a digital thermometer. Most of the chemical additives can be bought from chefrubber.com and lepicerie.com there are some that can only be bought from the manufacturers. I cant wait to start making some of this stuff the pictures are awsome and very very detailed instructions. Have fun!
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