How Fine-Dining Has Been Making Food Iconic Way Before Instagram — The Business of Going Viral

– [Narrator] Modernist fine dining was built on the idea that cuisine is a creative art. Like all artistic disciplines, rules and expectations have been severed by the leaders of the field. – When I manipulate food, I do it because I’m understanding what it’s capable of and I’m not necessarily doing a lot to it. I’m just creating maybe a texture or technique with that ingredient that is uncommon. – I want it to really be about the food but I wanted to create a compelling display for a single bite starter to our tasty menu. – [Narrator] Fine dining is about creating something genuinely never seen or experienced before. – Creating floating food has always just been on the to-do list.

It actually happened when we had extra helium tanks laying around for a party that we did and I used that opportunity to create. I wanted to create something that was elegant and simple and realistic. Once I came close, then I knew, then it was game on and then I just went for it and it worked itself out. – [Narrator] But, like high fashion, there’s a trickle-down effect. Original ideas funneled from the height of fine dining down to fast- casual restaurants. Take the cronut for example. The pastry is a result of Dominique Ansell’s years of work at a Michelin star restaurant. It’s a dish that disrupted diner’s expectations of what either a donut or a croissant would taste like. Since then copycats have attempted to flip similar ideas, seeking out their next big hit but in days, not years and commonly with little to no culinary credentials.

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So, have the current viral food trends and social platforms began to democratize the avant garde dining experience? Could a viral food ever be truly iconic? – I think when some food becomes iconic, a solid foundation, either on the flavors, on the technique, or both. – [Narrator] This is Salvatore Martone, executive pastry chef at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, a restaurant group that’s credited with introducing Americans to French fine dining ideals. – I think that our process takes at least four months to create a new dessert from start to finish. Because we customize the mold, the plates. Something can be sculpted by hand or this time it was 3D printed.

I polished with acetone to make it shiny and then you make a silicone mold out of it. I use sampling to make a injection polycarbonate mold then you make the chocolate umbrella. I started using Instagram two years ago. I tried not to follow other pastry people. My intention is just to show a record of the process of the dessert. I never think about how I’m gonna make something viral. ‘Cause I know there is many videos that are fascinating just to see but not very technical, or there’s no many thought behind, but sometimes they get the same response, but the intention is different. My perspective’s always from the restaurant. At the end of the day, what I’m trying to achieve with the dessert is mostly it’s a memory. You know, when you have a dessert like the mushroom or the butterfly, it’s difficult to forget. – [Narrator]

Modernist chefs will continue using technology and creative vision to give diners the once in a lifetime experience that leaves them dreaming coming back again and if it takes off on Instagram, then even better. To watch more of the four part Eater series, The Business of Going Viral, click here. – When the viral video hit, I got into the store at about seven o’clock in the morning and the phone rang, it was someone who wanted to make a reservation.

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