Achatz, on what to expect at Alinea in 2009: "The experience is a big part of what makes Alinea different. Yes, we concentrate on food, but we also hyper-analyze human interaction, emotion and all the variables that come into the dining experience. As I look to the spring menu, I'm going to focus this year not on the food, but the service. [Typically] through the 27-course meal, we put down a concept—a dish in front of a diner—and the wait staff gives a description. It's the same 27 times in a row, not literally, but the same method, the same talking points, the same delivery. That's wrong. And it happens everywhere and nobody's challenged it. We have a concept called raspberry transparency. It's basically two bites of food: paper thin, beautiful, delicate, fragile, glowing red sculpture, essentially. Why should we explain that the same way I do a lamb course? Well, of course, we shouldn't. Why can't we look at service as an extension of a concept? Let's get to the essence of the raspberry and use the language servers use to describe the dish as an extension of the experience. Instead of what they say now 'transparency of raspberry, powdered yogurt, rose petals, sugar,' maybe they just set it down and say 'fragile, delicate, transparent, red' and then they walk away. Maybe that is more informative, more in line with the concept."
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