n. A cooktop that uses a -30 degrees Farenheit surface to quickly freeze foods.
The Tour is Alinea's extravaganza, a bacchanal remarkable not only for how the food tastes but also for how it's made and presented. The kitchen — spotless, sparkling stainless steel — looks like a chemistry lab. Dominating an entire counter, with a smooth steel top and an industrial frame, sits the antigriddle. Built by lab supplier PolyScience, it can chill food to minus-30 degrees Fahrenheit in an instant.
The anti-griddle is the coolest new accessory for the kitchen — instead of heating your food, it quickly freezes it. Essentially a worktop with a temperature of -30F, this device will freeze sauces and purées almost instantly.
In the meantime, all the attention being paid to temperature and laboratory precision has pushed chefs in more creative directions. When Grant Achatz built his new restaurant Alinea in Chicago, thermal circulators from PolyScience, a laboratory-equipment manufacturer, were part of the kitchen design. To these, he has added a 40,000-r.p.m. homogenizer (what Philip Preston, the president of PolyScience, calls a ''coffee grinder on steroids'') — for making the world's most emulsified vinaigrettes and confections like carrot pudding made with carrot juice, cocoa butter and grapeseed oil — and an entirely new mechanism they're calling the Antigriddle, which has a surface that chills to minus 30 degrees … Fahrenheit, allowing you to freeze food in the same way you would sauté it. A dollop of sour cream becomes brittle on the bottom and stays at room temperature on top.