Plenty of chefs these days are as interested in stimulating your mind as they are in pleasing your tastebuds. Heston Blumenthal has been a trailblazer in incorporating audio-visual cues into his dishes, and Alinea’s recent takeover of Eleven Madison Park included elements like real fall leaves that diners swept off their tables.
But the Guardian‘s Tony Naylor wants to know how far we’re willing to go to play along with a chef’s vision. For him, the jig is up when it comes to donning earphones at the dinner table and licking bricks.
He felt the fool for licking a caramel-glazed house brick at John Salt in London, where “chicken on a brick”—namely, chicken-live mousse and crispy chicken skin—is chef Ben Spalding’s speciality. Naylor bemoans the fact that these sorts of hijinks have become the norm in contemporary dining: “More and more we are asked entertain ideas which, 10 years ago, would have seemed ridiculous.”
He seems to draw a distinction between cooking that is confrontational and sophisticated, and restaurants that just make you feel silly. “From being told to sit up straight and chew your food properly, to having to cook your own steak on a volcanic rock, there are many things that you might be asked to do in restaurants, which, frankly, I don’t want to,” says the critic. “Not if I’m paying for the privilege.”
[via The Guardian]