Chef Grant Achatz masterminded his famous Black Truffle Explosion (ravioli filled with liquified black truffle) while pulling apart chilled duck confit at The French Laundry in Napa. “The natural gelatin from the skin and bones had formed what was basically a duck consommé. I looked at it and had one of those pivotal moments. I rolled off a piece of pasta to make ravioli and put a little chunk of the duck gelée inside, tossed it in the water, and when it came out the filling had liquefied. When I was trying out for the job at Trio I tried the technique again [this time using a filling of] black truffle juice set with gelatin. That’s essentially what got me the job.” Today at his groundbreaking Chicago flagship Alinea, the dish is still served. “It does that thing that all iconic signature dishes should do: It combines elements of surprise with elements of comfort.”
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