Monday, May 3, 2010
Can He Pull It Off?!
(Photo: Grant Achatz)
Two thousand ten is officially The Year of Grant Achatz.
Just last week, the much celebrated owner/chef of Alinea nabbed the honor of being named the best restaurant in North America (placing at No. 7) by the prestigious San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards.
On Monday in New York, before hundreds of the country's top culinary bigwigs in media and restaurants, he won yet another big-deal honor at the James Beard Awards: Outstanding Service.
All this happened before Alinea's fifth anniversary—Tuesday, May 4—but there's soooooo much more to come.
Three major projects, all set for 2010, are coming up fast:
NEXT: The global-focused resto will "serve four menus per year from great moments in culinary history," according to its website, which will include five to six courses paired with beverages. Prices will range $40 to $75, which is pretty reasonable. What's completely different from what we've ever seen is that you'll need to purchase tickets in advance online to get in. They say it'll be as easy as buying airline or pro sports tickets. Two walk-in tables will be available every evening. No details on location, but they're planning on a fall opening.
The Aviary: Plans are also underway for a lounge with a molecular gastronomy theme that'll be adjacent to NEXT. It'll be a casual space with no reservations, but trust us when we say it won't be easy getting in. Chefs whip up the cuisine and pair them with cocktails (no crafty mixologists?!). Look for it to open simultaneously with NEXT.
Chicago’s Once In a Lifetime Package: And let's not forget about Alinea. There's still a three-month waiting list to get in, and now that he's getting all these major props it just got harder. That's why Achatz's teamed up with the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB) for a unique four-day, three-night whirlwind getaway for two during the 4th of July holiday. Bidding starts at $1,200 for the package that includes a meet-and-greet with Achatz with the honor of serving as guest chef for the afternoon at Alinea; an afternoon wine tasting with head sommelier Craig Sindelar; 24+ course tour menu with wine pairings; and a seasonal case of wine shipped home from Alinea includes tasting notes, sketches from Achatz, and recipes from the menus. The Chicago package officially goes on sale May 12—for 12 hours only!—but you will be able to preview it here May 7.
That's a ton of stuff going on there. We'll just watch what happens because it's going to be an interesting rest of the year for Achatz!