Friday, July 3, 2009

New Molecular Gastronomy Menu: Air

Famed Chicago chef Homaro Cantu will be offering a special Fourth of July tasting menu consisting of various types of air at Moto, his restaurant in the lively meatpacking district.

"To celebrate our Nation's independence we will be offering a menu free of calories, fat and cholesterol," he said in a press release. "It's healthy and environmentally conscious."

Cantu previously gained recognition for his inkjet dishes that included a picture of a buffalo printed in soy-based ink onto edible paper that tasted like buffalo wings.

Within an hour after Cantu's announcement, all the reservations on OpenTable were filled.

Joanne Ackerby, a food connoisseur from New York City, plan to fly to Chicago for the meal with her husband, Glenn Vander Beak. The couple make annual trips to El Bulli, the Spanish restaurant of Ferran Adria, widely regarded as the father of molecular gastronomy. To celebrate their 30th anniversary they took a private sous vide cooking class with Thomas Keller at his Napa Valley-based French Laundry restaurant. The Ackerbys have a standing Sunday brunch at wd-50, Wylie Dufresne's restaurant that serves dishes such as bagel flavored ice cream and fried mayonnaise.

"I can't wait to try these latest creations," Ackerby said. "Homaro is a genius."

Diners will begin with an amuse bouche of air from Jamestown, Va., the site of the first permanent English settlement in the United States. The olfactory feast will also include Fume of Freedom (singed firecrackers and musket powder) and Essence of Democracy (aged parchment and quills).

When asked about the probability that they would leave the meal still hungry, Ackerby said she was not concerned and that she expected the experience would leave her sated. Her only concern was her husband's cold and resulting clogged sinuses, but "we bought a Neti Pot and that should clear him right up."

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