Skip to Content

Video: The Elements of Taste

A chef in Chicago wants to blow your mind.
February 12, 2007

Technology Review presents its latest video , “The Elements of Taste.” In it, Corby Kummer , who writes about food for The Atlantic Monthly , considers how technological cooking techniques, many of them borrowed from industrial food preparation, are influencing high cuisine. The video was spurred by an assignment given out of curiosity: what would Kummer, the author of Slow Food –which explores a culinary and social movement that champions food prepared simply and life lived simply–think of chef Grant Achatz’s Chicago restaurant Alinea, the temple of high-tech food?

Chef Grant Achatz’s Hamachi

“I was all ready to hate it,” says ­Kummer, “having watched with progressive alarm chefs torment perfectly good, innocent food into whimpering submission with the pathetic excuse of forwarding the culinary arts. But eating at Alinea was as transformative for me as eating at El Bulli, the culinary madhouse north of Barcelona, is for fellow foodies. I was fascinated by what I ate, liked a lot of it, and was really seduced by a few dishes. It didn’t turn me into a complete convert–I think most American disciples of the weird, novelty-as-all El Bulli food go way overboard, and I’m not interested in dining at their lab benches, so to speak. But in the hands of someone as fiercely ambitious as Grant ­Achatz, I’m willing to put at least one foot into the future.”

Multimedia

  • Watch "The Elements of Taste"

The video also includes Achatz talking about his ultimate aim: to use food as a kind of artistic medium to give individual diners an emotional experience. “If you can get past the soy sauce on chocolate, you will enjoy it and feel a certain way. It’s a journey where your heart beats a little faster.” You can read the full story of Kummer’s experience in ” The Alchemist ” and learn more about how Achatz creates his unusual concoctions in a multimedia slide show .

Keep Reading

Most Popular

DeepMind’s cofounder: Generative AI is just a phase. What’s next is interactive AI.

“This is a profound moment in the history of technology,” says Mustafa Suleyman.

What to know about this autumn’s covid vaccines

New variants will pose a challenge, but early signs suggest the shots will still boost antibody responses.

Human-plus-AI solutions mitigate security threats

With the right human oversight, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence can help keep business and customer data secure

Next slide, please: A brief history of the corporate presentation

From million-dollar slide shows to Steve Jobs’s introduction of the iPhone, a bit of show business never hurt plain old business.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.