Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rebekah Denn's review of the Alinea book for the CSMonitor

Rebekah wrote a great article on the Alinea cookbook, which alienated art critic Regina Hackett who called it "soul-less" and conversely was a source of inspiration for Spur's chefs. To read Denn's entire piece, click the link above. In the meantime, here's what Denn reported we said about the book:

"I wanted to lug it one step further, and there I hit “Alinea”’s true niche. It was in the kitchen of Spur, a new Seattle restaurant that has won wild fans with splashy, chemistry-enhanced creations such as a deep-fried Bearnaise sauce.

Co-owners Dana Tough and Brian McCracken didn’t need to look at my copy of “Alinea” when I walked in holding it under my arm – they already had their own on Spur’s kitchen bookshelf, cover already gone and pages well-thumbed. “We jumped on this right when it came out,” said Tough.

Did the book speak to them, I asked? “We find recipes in [the Alinea book], and they inspire us to mess with those and come up with something different,” said McCracken. “What [chef Grant Achatz] is doing here is all revolutionary,” Tough said. “It’s all trying out new things, and seeing where he can take food.” The book “helps us lowly chefs around the country to come up with other things ourselves.”

Even the price – $50, stunningly inexpensive for a book of its production level –was a treat for the young restaurateurs, endowed with more creativity than cash. The price break must have been, Tough thought, “so that chefs could buy it.” The book’s audience was smaller than I had first pictured, but it was there. The book was more than the lab notebook it seemed to me, or the pretentiousness it broadcast to Regina. For the two young chefs, it was a heady hit of inspiration, on every page."

Photo of Alinea cookbook.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was in my school's library and I immediately checked out this book for the next two weeks. I'm addicted to it!