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4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  598 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The debut cookbook from the restaurant Gourmet magazine named the best in the country.

A pioneer in American cuisine, chef Grant Achatz represents the best of the molecular gastronomy movement--brilliant fundamentals and exquisite taste paired with a groundbreaking approach to new techniques and equipment. ALINEA showcases Achatz's cuisine with more than 100 dishes (totalin...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Achatz
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Modernist Cuisine by Nathan MyhrvoldModernist Cuisine at Home by Nathan MyhrvoldAlinea by Grant AchatzEl Bulli 1994-1997 by Ferran AdriàThe River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
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3rd out of 12 books — 3 voters
Love Soup by Anna ThomasGood Meat by Deborah KrasnerThe Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel SaundersThe River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-WhittingstallReal Cajun by Donald Link
James Beard Award Cookbooks
80th out of 100 books — 18 voters

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As a foodie who is more interested in rustic foodways, I'm almost offended by molecular gastronomy. Why? Why? is my attitude. Nevertheless, this is recommended for the essays on "how to think about food," flavor combinations and also for the fabulous photography. Lots of ideas for food presentation and style in here, even if you never try the recipes. Plus, Grant Achatz is a Chicago Hero. It would make a great gift for any food snob and it is a high quality product, which is getting to be unusua...more

My attempt at reproducing Alinea's Surf Clam dish. I made some replacements - I used a scallop, mustard seed cress for the soup and a watercress leaf as a bed for the scallop and garnished with baby coriander.
As a coffee table book, Lara Kaster's photographs are some of the most stunning food photography I've ever seen. As a cookbook, the over 300 recipes included in this monolith are as addictive and all-consuming as any I've tried recreating.

My issue with the book is with the essays. Given the writing talents of the food writers involved — Michael Ruhlman, Jeffrey Steingarten, Mark McCluskey and Michael Nagrant — the essays are mainly rehashes of better articles each has written about the Alinea di...more
Oct 15, 2008 Ragallachmc rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Gourmands and Foodies
Besides the El Bulli books by Ferran Adria (which are hard to come buy and very expensive), this is the first real cookbook dealing with molecular gastronomy by a well known chef. The recipes are precise and easy to follow, although finding some of the ingredients and equipment is going to be hard for a home chef. Achatz and company demystify MG cooking and show that it's really not that different from more traditional cooking.

The essays offer insight into the process and feel of Alinea and were...more
I almost wanted to add this book to my "Art," "Fantasy," and "Science Fiction" Goodreads shelves, but restrained myself. But this book is totally all of those things!!

This is most definitely not an instructional type cookbook; I do not think any of these could possibly be recreated in the average person's home. Maybe if you had a scientific laboratory in your home...

For example, each individual dish recipe contains 4+ component recipes in order to make the dish. (The "Tomato" dish had 12 compon...more
John Bozlinski
i'm someone whose basic knowledge of the subject is one recipe with just three ingredients, a pinch of bar, a dash of ba, and a smidge of cue. i wanted to read this book because i always wondered how some people could get so jazzed about cooking.if you're looking for a book about restaurants and the driven people who run them, this is for you. if you're looking for recipes, not so much. now i'm not talking about the kind of places you go to, "too give mom a night off." this is about the kind of...more
Jorge Camara
May 29, 2013 Jorge Camara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Advanced cooking aficionados, professional chefs, designers
Shelves: cookbooks
Alinea is an inspirational book, from one of the most avantgarde Chefs in the world, Grant Achatz.

If you are pursuing to find inspiration and take your culinary skills to the next level, you have to own this book. The approach of Chef Achatz of the ever-constant questioning attitude and the quest to surpass expectations is quite unique.

Chef Achatz quest to make every culinary creation a holistic experience is reflected across the book: the extreme attention to detail, the art-inspired presenta...more
For being a beautiful coffee table book of food porn, this book gets five stars. Its lovely to see the large scale photographs of the restaurant and gorgeous food.

But as for the practical/DIY aspect of the book (which is substantial)... I don't mean to sound like a bumpkin since I know that this is what the Molecular Gastronomy style is all about, but this the whole thing goes a little over my head. Everything is posted in grams, which I assume keeps everything as precise as possible but it make...more
This is a fantastic cookbook, but not for the faint of heart. The photography is beautiful, though occasionally I wish for a clearer shot of a dish's presentation. Those moments are far between however because multiple shots of elements are usually given. Do not expect to go into this book and bookmark half the entries. Rather, expect to be inspired. The average home cook who does not own agar agar or an antigriddle is not catered-to. That being said, there are changes that could be made to inco...more
Full recipes and instructions (accompanied by superb photography) for many of the elaborate “manipulated food” dishes served at Alinea. While all of the individual steps seem manageable--once the uncommon ingredients have been obtained--the full process to create each dish would be unbelievably time-consuming. I doubt I would ever make any of them in their entirety, but some of the recipes that are steps along the way sound interesting on their own. This provided inspiration for some new ways to...more
Sarah Kate
Yes, I'm reading a cookbook. Yes, it's wonderful. First, the essays: a history of the restaurant, and thoughts on what food can be--Alinea is like dinner as theater and contemporary art. There's an exploration of all the high-tech ingredients and techniques, used to push the boundaries of food preparation and presentation, not just as gimmicks. Then, the recipes. They are astonishing and playful and beautiful and unbelievably complicated. I will almost certainly never attempt any of these at hom...more
Ricardo Marcos
In my opinion, this is the best book to learn not only about the famous chicagoan restaurant, but also the menu items as well as the molecular gastronomy recipes of the menu items. It is definately what you want to read if you do not want to get into the details of the techniques but learn a little about the business model, the design of the restaurant, etc., and the menu items, ingredients and recipes. The pictures are amazing and inspirational for culinary readers. Worth every single penny pai...more
Terri Jacobson
I wouldn't actually call this a cook book--though it contains recipes, none of them are anything you would attempt at home. Alinea is Grant Achatz's restaurant in Chicago, and the chef is a pioneer of molecular gastronomy and avant-garde cooking. The illustrations are beautiful, it's just hard to identify many of them as food. It's a huge and expensive book--interesting to look at but nothing I would want in my home collection.
Gina Bégin
I received this for Christmas from D- holy hannah. This book has AMAZING photography from one of the best restaurants in the US (according to Gourmet magazine, New York Times, etc). The food pairing is unique, the presentation is impeccably designed- just wow.

And supposedly, if you can find the ingredients, the recipes are designed for home chefs ;) like me.
Serge Pierro
An AMAZING book. Beautiful photography and detailed recipes by one of America's greatest chefs. Achatz holds nothing back and the reader is treated to an incredible array of modern cuisine recipes and presentations. He is a genius, and this book allows you to see his creations first hand (and possibly attempt them!).
Catherine Woodman
Ok, this cookbook is as gorgeous as anythiing put together by Thomas Keller, and it has fantastic pictures, and etailed recipes--but this is just food that i am not going to make, I'll try to eat at Alinea, though, and I was glad to read the cookbook after reading Grant Atchatz' memoir 'Chef, Life on the Line'.
Dec 26, 2008 Mark is currently reading it
worst part of this book so far is the intro article by jeffrey steingarten - it's horrible. If had an opportunity to write a piece introducing the coolest restaurant in the US, I wouldn't blow it whining about my broken toe and wasting most of the sentences on topics that mean nothing like other diners' perfumes.
Jan 21, 2009 Hillary added it
Shelves: library, cookbooks
wow. this is absolutely an aspirational cookbook. there's one recipe I'm going to try, and a few more that I would try if I (a) had a larger kitchen and (b) could afford the ingredients and equipment. That said, this is more a coffee table book than an actual cookbook.
Valerie Sherman
His techniques for cooking are really innovative (obviously). I can't wait to try some recipes. Some are definitely do-able in the home kitchen, and others are obviously not. I have the feeling that I'll be buying some ingredients online though...
Kelly Noyes
My husband purchased this book for me as a souvenir to remember our (probably only) visit to Alinea in 2010. The pictures are gorgeous, and it is a great souvenir, but unless you are really into molecular gastronomy, I don't see this having a broad audience.
Science + Cooking
The world of molecular gastronomy is beyond me but the pictures are impressive. We have already started on our modern day pantry but I will leave the execution of these recipes to the expert chef in the house.
Recipes are broken up with more logical modularity than Thomas Keller's Under Pressure. Keller's recipes reflect a more classical palate, though.
Wonderful book if you like pretty food. Chef Achatz has translated his restaurant food to the home kitchen if you are an ambitious cook. Lots of color photos.
Stephen Perez
Wow! Again a book that challenged my thinking of the possibilities of food. Achatz creativity in preparation, technique and presentation is astonishing.
Okay, so I didn't read every single recipe. It was fascinating reading the intro essays and skimming the recipes. Makes me want to eat here someday.
My autographed copy finally arrived. If you don't see me for a few weeks, I'll be in my kitchen experimenting with the molecular gastro recipes.
Laura Cococcia
May 28, 2009 Laura Cococcia marked it as to-read
On my to read list, but many of my friends rave about it. Recently interviewed the author, Grant Achatz:
Tom Steele
It's pretty unlikely I'll ever be able to cook any of these dishes, but maybe, just maybe, I'll get to experience them at Alinea someday.
Amazing culinary photography. Not food I would cook on a whim.
Amazing and unusable. Ultimately depressing and possibly elitist.
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Grant Achatz is the multiple award-winning chef and owner of Alinea in Chicago. He has written for Gourmet and The New York Times Diner’s Journal and is a columnist for The Atlantic’s Food Channel. He lives in Chicago with his girlfriend and two sons, Kaden and Keller.

For more information, please see
More about Grant Achatz...
Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat Next Restaurant - Paris: 1906 [LIFE, ON THE LINE: A CHEF'S STORY OF CHASING GREATNESS, FACING DEATH, AND REDEFINING THE WAY WE EAT] BY Achatz, Grant (Author) Gotham Books Hardcover

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“Comparing Ferran with Heston or Grant makes no
more sense than comparing three painters because
they buy the same brand of brushes. — Jeffrey Steingarten”
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