Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas have had a busy couple weeks, bopping all over the country pimping for their new book, >Life, on the Line, which is part memoir, part primer on the restaurant industry and partly the story of Grant Achatz surviving a cancer that had a really good shot at killing him stone dead. They came to Seattle recently, to do an event, sign some books, and press a little flesh. When it was done, they were supposed to sit down and do an interview with our very own Seattle Food Geek, which would've been awesome.
Operative words there being "would've been."
Unfortunately, said Geek wasn't able to make it, so he turned interviewing duties over to his buddy Jethro who--not being a food writer--actually asked the guys some questions they probably haven't been asked a million times already. Like about music and Beethoven and sex and shotguns.
Nick, you're a philosophy guy. Molecular Gastronomy, Modernist Cuisine, New Cookery--all, one, or none?
Kokonas: None. It's all bullshit, right? Apparently, no one writes about food. Molecular Gastronomy does not refer to chefs manipulating the molecules. Every single food writer, barring like three or four, thinks that when they talk about modern gastronomy that "chefs are manipulating things at the molecular level"--that's just stupid.They're doing gross chemistry just like chefs have been doing forever.
Nathan Myhrvold [author of Modernist Cuisine] is trying to build a food printer.
Kokonas: I was about to say, with the exception perhaps of what Nathan does over there, where they're actually manipulating molecules. But, when Herve This wrote about it, what he meant as molecular was the sense of an artistic movement where you take different things, pull them apart, and presented them in a molecular, quote unquote, fashion that were like different flavors on a plate. Flavors apart, but not literally down to the atom. No Atomic Cookery, you know what I mean? Atomic Cookery. That's it! I just coined that. Don't steal that--we're going past molecular straight to the atom."
So yeah, the guys talk about food as well. It's just that they don't only talk about food. Like I happen to now know why Grant Achatz has been carrying an olive pit around in his wallet for years.
You can read the whole interview (which you should do right now) right here at the Jet City Gastrophysics website. Trust me, it's totally worth your time--even if only to know what instrument Kokonas played in his band back in the day or what kind of a shotgun Achatz prefers when he's out hunting the broadsides of barns.