One Dish, 86 Ingredients?

Chicago’s Alinea serves up a dish so complicated that it requires a labeled grid.
A dish with 86 ingredients: culinary genius or outrageous overkill?
May 14, 2012
Nichol Nelson hails from Minnesota, but has worked in food journalism in New York and Los Angeles for more than a decade. She served as an editor with Gourmet magazine for six years, and has contributed to several other digital and print food publications.

Chef Grant Achatz is known for going big in the kitchen—his restaurants, Alinea and Next, both in Chicago, are temples of molecular gastronomy that feature hand-designed utensils and unique, often circus-like dishes designed to amuse and surprise. (That they taste good, too, explains why Achatz is famous.) Now Alinea’s been getting buzz for its latest menu addition: Lamb 86, reports Eater.

The dish is focused around a lamb sausage, but that’s not what’s causing a stir. It’s the accompaniments—all 86 of them. Each ingredient is carefully plated on a glass plate set atop a labeled grid using tweezers. Watching the video of the kitchen crew carefully constructing each plate is like witnessing an edible version of the kid’s game “Operation.” Whether there’s a method to their madness is up to your tongue, since the grid contains a wildly disparate array of options, from rhubarb to oats to garlic.

Wanna see? Check out the cool video of the dish being prepared:

Is this an example of the foodie scene gone amok, or simple creativity?

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