The Food Chain

David Myers Is Captivated by Alinea’s Spring Thaw

Spring Thaw
Spring Thaw Photo: courtesy Alinea

Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Abe Hiroki of EN Japanese Brasserie in New York went crazy over the mouthwatering cheeseburger David Myers serves at Comme Ça in L.A. What has inspired you lately, David?

Who: David Myers, Executive Chef and Owner of Comme Ca, Pizzeria Ortica, and Sona
What: Spring Thaw
Where: Alinea, Chicago
When: May 2010

“This is an amazing idea where Chef Grant Achatz takes eucalyptus and freezes it with a lime sorbet on the bottom. I love how creative this idea was. Over four courses you just watch it thaw and then drink the liquid as a palate cleanse. It’s super cool, super fun, and delicious.”

Alinea’s Chef Grant Achatz responds:

“I gathered the sous chefs so we could start talking about how we could capture spring both aesthetically and flavor wise. The team worked through several iterations of the frozen branch as you saw in the video [Note: The full video is below]. Starting with a ice cylinder embedded with flowers, to a frozen hyacinth and eventually to the eucalyptus branch. We love the idea of objects slowly transforming on the table top while people eat, and this has been our most effective example of that element of theater.

“I think more so than the reference to Australia or Koala bears this concept has strong visual appeal. The branches are certainly fragrant, but not until the liquid is consumed. At that point it has mixed with the lime ice and essentially created a balanced cocktail. The eucalyptus comes off more as mint than anything too assertive. Most people love the motion of the dripping liquid in the glass at the table, something they can watch evolve over time. It has a very tranquil organic aspect to it, something David mentioned.”

David Myers Is Captivated by Alinea’s Spring Thaw