Ten Speed Press
The ingredients, preparations, and “how the hell did he do this?” elements of Achatz’s signature dishes at Alinea are finally assembled into a volume available to the mere mortal. If you’ve never experienced dining at Alinea, but wish you had, this will get you a step closer. The photography is up-close and stunning and the wealth of detailed information in each recipe is staggering. Each dish is broken down into its various components, which range from simple to highly complex, and is followed by meticulous instructions for plating and presentation. What’s more, no element is repeated from one dish to another—and with 100 recipes, that’s saying a lot. Alinea carries the requisite testimonials from food media heavyweights (e.g. Steingarten, Ruhlman), but the most interesting of the book’s six essays is Achatz’s piece on the thought process, choice of technique, and ingredient selection behind some of his most memorable dishes. The beauty and sophistication of the Alinea cookbook propels it into the very top percentile of this year cookbooks, and makes for the grandest of gifts.