A 23-course sensorial extravaganza

This is a fascinating interview about the psychology of eating.   It is a National Public Radio interview with Grant Achatz, who operates Alinea in Chicago, which was named best restaurant in America in 2006.

Achatz says:

  • “Really what we're trying to do with that food is tell a story and craft, like, an emotionally rich experience, something that makes people feel. Something that, like walking through a great modern art museum or listening to a symphony or, you know, watching a great movie or reading a great book, we're trying to do that with food”

And from there he goes into great detail about how he achieves this – from the texture of the food, to the size of the courses, to the various sensory aspects of the meal.

Beyond all that, Achatz has a wild personal story – he’s a chef whose sense of taste was threatened by Stage 4 tongue cancer.

You can download the podcast here.  The discussion of the emotional experience of food begins around the 7:50 mark.  Or, if you prefer, here is the transcript.