It wasn't until I got to The French Laundry that I recognized food as it could be in an artistic way, in an individual expressionist way, and then it really caught fire. Once I got a taste of that, and what it did to me personally, how satisfying it was to come up with a new dish, that became my style, that became what was most important to me, constant creating. - Grant Achatz
If there's one thing I've learned from writing this blog it's that I believe food - and everything else, really - is at it's best when it exists somewhere in that vague space between art and science. It's there naturally, really, since the process of cooking is chemistry but the act of cooking is creative. But some chefs (both home and professional) seem to search harder than others for the discipline's golden mean.
Grant Achatz is, obviously, one of those chefs.
My brother got me the Alinea cookbook for Christmas. It's so intense. The photography is beautiful and the recipes are challenging. Maybe not in their individual steps, but in that they have so many steps, and that most of them require some sort of ingredient that you can't readily pick up at the Giant (not my Giant anyway).
But in it's intensity, the book inspires and, if nothing else, I love the essays at it's start.
Overall, it's a breathtaking read and one I'd recommend for anybody who loves to cook, or who simply likes to think about cooking.