Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Jul 28, 2011 12:32 PM

Published pieces discussing cooking style of Alinea and El Bull types

Hi all,

I'm writing an article on the ultramodern cooking style that seeks to use aesthetic and sensory manipulation to increase the flavor of food itself, rather than to just increase its visual appeal.

As part of the literature review that I am doing I am searching for published pieces that talk about the style these two restaurants (among others I suppose such as Fat Duck and Noma) but I am not having much luck finding informative and serious discussions of the food style these restaurants are using. What are their influences, where did they learn their techniques...etc, and so on.

As part of my article I am making the argument that this style is new because unlike prior, the use of different mediums is meant to enhance flavor more than visual appeal (although visual appeal is obviously important as well).

If anyone knows of published articles or even well thought out blog entries I would be extremely appreciative.



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You could start with the books; Heston Blumenthal has several, the "In Search of Perfection" books as well as the "Fat Duck" cookbook. Grant Achatz has written a book on Alinea, "Life on the Line". If you're incredibly wealthy you could spring for "Modernist Cuisine". I think you'll get the best information from these sources, these guys wrote the books on this cuisine, so to speak.

    I'm confused by your question however; as part of your literature review are you reviewing the actual books, or the reviews/blogs that others have written about the food? If you're into bile-spewing, you can check out John Mariani's blog post about Alinea. It's me:)

    4 Replies
    1. re: SherBel

      Thanks for your reply, SherBel. To clarify, I was hoping for articles that describe the world of modern progressive cuisine from an analytical, pseudo-scholarly perspective. For instance, a magazine or industry journal piece. I have looked to the chefs own words and have found some of this useful, and I've gone through Achatz's book, now I'll look for Blementhal's.

      1. re: tongue_to_tail

        Have you looked at blogs like:

        When you say 'industry journal' - what industry do you have in mind? Restaurants? Food Science and/or chemistry?

        1. re: tongue_to_tail

          The last section of blumenthal's book is a series of articles written largely by academics on food science and the sensory details of eating. They might be the closest thing to what you're looking for, though they are generally rather specific - not about modernist cuisine as a whole.

          Also there is a pretty good history and explanation of modernist cuisine as a whole in the first volume of Modernist Cuisine. I don't know how you might get a hold of a copy without paying out the nose though.

          1. re: cowboyardee

            I agree with this, try to get your hands on the first volume of modernist cuisine, I think it has exactly what you are looking for.

        1. See if you can find a cheap copy of "Food For Thought" its an exhaustive look at the concepts of El Bulli and Ferran's philosophy. Invaluable piece of work on the discussion of food and aesthetic beauty

          1. I just watched 2 hrs of El Bulli on No Reservations.