A few weeks ago, I experienced culinary wizardry at its finest. The gorgeous episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table with Chicago’s Chef Grant Achatz prompted me to add “Dine at Alinea” to my bucket list. Thankfully, I put a check beside that dream on September 27, describing it as a Willy Wonka adventure (minus the fizzy lifting drinks and skin-discoloring bubble gum).
Chef Achatz is young, intense, wildly creative, and a cancer survivor (of the tongue, no less). At Alinea, he defies culinary convention, combining science and art to create a new food language. Each element of the meal is intentional and interactive, from the centerpiece on the table, to the layers of aroma, flavor, and presentation, to the orchestrated dance of the servers. This is the most entertaining meal I’ve experienced, and perhaps the most experimental. After all, magic is a mix of science and creativity, and a willingness to break the rules. Essentially, Achatz is making up his own—the essence of creative work of any kind.
In Greenville, we are in the midst of a food evolution, a call to our “food destination” proclamation. Thankfully, we have much to look forward to in 2019, with food halls, collaborative concepts, and a restaurant that aims to elevate cuisine to an Alinea-like plane. Drink culture is also keeping pace, with beer, cocktails, coffee, and wine excelling in quantity and quality.
Food is a gateway to culture—to tradition, art, science, pleasure. As it firmly roots itself here, let’s toast to the diversity of what we have, and the excitement of what’s to come.
Blair Knobel, Editor-in-Chief, email@example.com