We are, obviously, super excited about Grant Achatz writing for The Atlantic. Entering the online fray isn't anything new for the superstar chef — there's his eGullet account, the Alinea Mosaic — as he told us, "Nick [Kokonas] and I joke at times about Alinea being the restaurant that Google built, we find the web the most important tool we have, surpassing the french knife and saute pan."
But is he ready for the crazy, high-stakes world of foodblogging? We asked Grant for more details about his involvement with the new food site, and it turns out it's got a lot to do with his worst night at the French Laundry, MIT, and the notion that blogging is a good idea for any chef:
On his relationship with The Atlantic Food editor Corby Kummer:
I have a long standing relationship with Corby Kummer from the Atlantic. As it turns out he was observing in the French Laundry kitchen on what I call "my worst night ever" there. It's a long story but basically it started the day before when I forgot to order the appropriate amount of fish for the following day's service. Corby was observing in the French Landry kitchen for research on an article for the Atlantic and quietly witnessed me go down in flames and nearly take the entire kitchen with me.
Since then we have sporadically kept in touch, he visited Alinea in 2006 and wrote about it for the MIT Technology Review. I have always respected his gastronomic knowledge, and thought his writing was clever, entertaining, and educational. (I bought The Joy of Coffee back in 1998 way before the we met that ill-fated night at the French Laundry.) I think what impressed me most about Corby was his open-mindedness. I fully expected him to not like Alinea. He is heavily involved in the Slow Food Movement, and has not been shy about his disdain for certain food styles or restaurants that go outside of their reach. But as it turns out he saw what Alinea and the cooking we do here is truly about. All of these things made me want to be involved in this project with him.
On what's in store for the Achatz!Blog:
The blogging has been very self-educational for me. It is rare that chefs take the time to step away from their kitchens ( or TV studios) to reflect on the why and what it is that they do. I will produce between 2-3 posts per week, in the beginning I will focus on my recent travels to Madrid and Japan and how these trips both informed me of changing times in modern gastronomy, and explain the inspiration they provided. I will then go on to present 12 concepts that we are working on at Alinea that were directly influenced by both my recent self-reflection and my travels. The posts will be supported with slide shows, still images and video. I think it will be a cool look into what I think is a very transitional time in gastronomy, and how Alinea is reacting to it.
We've always bestowed the title "Master of the Internet" on Alinea partner Nick Kokonas. But we're thinking it might be time for a regime change. "Grant Achatz: Master of the Internet" — how's that sound?