Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should


Food critic Jay Rayner is fuming.

My sauté of chicken liver and bacon “satay” was no less bonkers. Chicken livers. Peanut butter. And bacon. Believe me. However hard you try, nothing good could ever come of that, and nothing did. It was a mess of something dark and heartbroken.

The cause of his consternation is a restaurant aspiring to be on the cutting edge of the modernist food revolution, which has abandoned traditional dishes in favor of pushing boundaries and flouting convention with technical wizardry in an incessant search for whiz-bang novelty.

At least there was the distraction of those potatoes sautéed in Marmite, in a puddle of fat so deep you could measure it with an engine dipstick. Oh god. Never again.

Ewwww. Marmite? Really?

This is the persistent danger of modernism in food—cooks with loads of ambition, ideas, and technique but no taste. Modernism in the arts succumbed to the same temptation where the idea mattered more than its sensuous implementation. The result was unlistenable music and arid, repellant visual art.

Tracy Em
Tracy Emin “My Bed”

Modernist cuisine does represent an enormous culinary advance and has boosted cooking out of the dark ages.

But it will have to weed out the poseurs.



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