At the Fancy Food Show, Kriss Harvey, a pastry chef and frozen dessert solutions specialist, served me a spoonful of powdered chocolate ice cream, his invention. It looked like chocolate ice cream but it tasted unlike any ice cream (or any food) I’ve ever had. It was there and not there. It was in my mouth and then it was gone. It was the most ethereal food I’ve ever had.
We had been talking about El Bulli, the Spanish restaurant of experimental food. Two friends of Mr. Harvey’s had worked there one summer and had come back complaining about the food (rabbit ears) and the workload. Just because people will pay a lot for your unusual food doesn’t mean you are advancing things, said Mr. Harvey. Maybe your food doesn’t taste very good. He pointed to a certain now-forgotten fad among New York dessert chefs a few years ago. That’s fashion, I said; it has a perfectly good purpose (to support experimentation). Then Mr. Harvey served me his powdered ice cream. Which was more memorable and impressive than anything I had at Alinea, an American version of El Bulli.