Saturday, April 19, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Molecular gastronomy: Passé?

Critic John Mariani, writing on minibar's 10th anniversary, says the precious lab style approach to food has had "next to zero" influence on cooking.

Molecular gastronomy: Passé?

Critic John Mariani, riffing off the 10th anniversary of chef José Andrés’ 17-seat molecular cuisine minibar in Washington, D.C., says the precious lab-style approach to cooking is a dud.

With all of Andrés’ success, Mariani writes, "you’d think that the molecular cuisine Andrés is selling would take the nation’s capital, and the rest of the nation, by storm. But the fact is, despite tremendous media hype - not least the specious 2013 San Pellegrino Awards that ranked six restaurants specializing in molecular gastronomy in their top ten - the expansion and influence of that avant garde cuisine has been next to zero."

"Especially in the U.S., the molecular/modernist (M&M) movement has barely budged beyond its first breakthrough in 2003 at Wylie Dufresne’s wd-50 in New York and in 2005 at Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago. The rest of the molecular restaurants in the U.S. can be numbered on the fingers of two hands: Schwa, Moto, and Grace, all in Chicago; Atelier Crenn and Coi in San Francisco; The Pass in Houston; Catbird Seat in Nashville, and one or two more that are struggling to stay open. In New York, Atera, Eleven Madison Park, and Chef’s Table are using minimal modernist techniques. Not much to show after ten years of evolution and hype."

Put down your sous vide and read it here.

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