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Alinea (Hardcover) Hardcover – October 1, 2007


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Hardcover, October 1, 2007
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: 10 Speed Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2007)
  • ASIN: B002U1DXRE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,777,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

GRANT ACHATZ was named one of the best new chefs in America by Food & Wine in 2002, received the James Beard Rising Star Chef award in 2003, and won the Beard Best Chef/Great Lakes award in 2007. 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.

Customer Reviews

This book will be my main reference material.
Scott North
The book is extremely descriptive of a very young man's overly full life, who is suddenly faced with a horrendous cancer that nearly destroyed his career and his life.
Pageminder
If you are looking for a book like that, with great recipes that work, check out some of the America's Test Kitchen books.
Cookbook Gal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Cookbook Gal VINE VOICE on October 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amy Senk VINE VOICE on February 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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.
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51 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Jackal on June 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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