Luxury today does no longer mean owing expensive objects. Especially when it comes to fine food and travel, luxury means living incredible experiences. Customers don’t want to go to the restaurant only for the tasty food and the pleasing aesthetics anymore. They want their food to make explode their senses, to evocate special memories, to make them live an experience, even if eating is the thing we all do more often. Customers today are always more trained about healthy food, organic products, kilometer zero, seasonality, local, ethic, innovation and so on. Contemporary high cuisine reflects all these aspects. It wants to offer unicity, synestesia, identity, technique, experience and entertainment. Many times high cuisine’s chefs decide themselves what the clients will eat, offering predetermined menus. Davide Scabin, chef of the restaurant Combal.zero in Rivoli, also known as food designer and culinary engineer, amazes in the manner and order in which the dishes are served. The dishes are created after a precise route that includes 4 master tests that are duplicated in 8 dishes, in a very scientific process. The presentation of the dish is the expression of the insights of the chef , nothing is taken for granted.The philosophy behind his cuisine is to plan and study a project in the kitchen for each dish, offering to the customer the final product.
“A dining experience has an involvement that can get to unleash emotions equal to what you can live in front of a work of art” -says the chef -“normally the major arts do not involve all our senses , while the taste has such complexity that can come to include them all.This is a limitation : involving all the senses, in fact can not be art, I think”. However he adds “we can not exclude the possibility that in the end a chef can achieve an artistic expression in the act of cooking “. Grant Achatz is another innovative chef, who’s obtaining many successes. His first restaurant in Chicago, Alinea, has a unique reservation system, totally unconventional. To book a table, customers don’t have to call the restaurant or to send an email: what is needed is a ticket. Yes, tickets, like the ones we buy for theatre, concerts or sporting event. So, can we say that going to eat to Alinea is like going to a show? I think that the answer can be only “yes”, since for the 2012 season 6,600 people were in list, with just 900 tickets available that were bought in 8-10 seconds from their release.
Another brilliant idea of the young chef is the opening of Next, his second restaurant in Chicago, with the same reservation system of Alinea. This amazing restaurant changes its style every few months, and with “style” I mean to say type of cuisine, interior design, part of the world and time period. Chef Achatz wants to recreate closed restaurants, countries of the world, abstract themes and so on, such as “Thailand”, “Sicily” or “Childhood”. When he first opened it in 2011, he recreated Paris in 1906; today the theme is “Bistro” and the next one will be “Tapas”.
Let’s go back for a second to the concept of show, offering an olistic experience and entertaining, with a chef that perfectly fits all these aspects: David Muñoz and his three Michelin stars restaurant Diverxo in Madrid. https://vimeo.com/107912454 Chef Muñoz is known for his fusion cuisine, made of radical and contrasting flavors. He thinks that serving a dish is like offering an experience for the sense, an adventure, a piece of art right there on the plate. Preparations are, for the presentation of the colors and imagination, real abstract paintings that change shape and color from when they are brought to the table to the next phase of the end tasting. As a fact, every course is presented as a lienzo (cloth to paint). Prevalent colors of the furniture are grey and black, perhaps really to emphazise the colors of the preparations. “My restaurant must be something fantastic, exciting, charming as a Cirque du Soleil” the chef said, “the black butterflies that I have on the walls, gently have to circle in the stomach of every guest of mine to create some unique pleasures”.
Davide Scabin, Grant Achatz and David Muñoz. Different interpretations of contemporary high cuisine, limitless and innovative, keeping on surprising us, where nothing is impossible. Arianna Arcai Sources: www.alimentipedia.it www.blog.contemporarytorinopiemonte.it www.chicago.eater.com www.nextrestaurant.com www.corrieredelvino.it