Mar 28, 2008

achatz on the alinea book

Via Alaina Browne, Gourmet has a great conversation between Grant Achatz, the chef at Alinea, and Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck.  A lot of the conversation revolved around the Alinea Book that Achatz and crew are self-publishing through Ten Speed Press. Blumenthal asked Achatz if self-publishing is helping to keep the price of the book down, and the response is worth quoting at length...
GA: Yeah, basically—you are the one controlling costs, and you have the power to hire the photographers you want and the writers you want. But ultimately we wanted it to be approachable on the price scale. If we make less money we make less money, but I wanted people to be able to pick it up. I think it would be great if we could get aggressive amateur cooks, and even people in the industry—it's priced at that point where it might infiltrate the market a bit more. It might educate people on what this cuisine is and why we do what we do. We focus in the book on dispelling some of the myths and some of the negativity that swirl around this type of cuisine. The critics are saying this is emotionless cuisine, it has no soul; so we're trying to combat those kinds of critiques, and when people get their hands on the book and read what we have to say, they might actually understand our cuisine a little better. It's worth the effort.
There's a lot to chew on in this discussion (ed.: seriously? chew on? bad pun), from the economics of publishing to the interpretation of the term "molecular gastronomy." Go read.