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Alinea

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#1 chefg

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 11:22 PM

I had indeed read the posts about my "rumored" departure from Trio, and I apoligize for taking so long to address the members of this board. It was important to us however to inform the staff of Trio and other appropriate individuals personnally before announcing the creation of Alinea.

The parting of myself and Henry is a mutual one, each of us supporting the others goals. Trio will carry on, and given Henry's track record of successful business and talent picking, the fourth generation of Trio will be another amazing transition, just as the three previous.

I suggest we keep the two topics of Aliena and Trio sepreate if possible. There are already too many threads running on this news in this forum, I feel condensing them to two would make for a more efficient read.

Alinea...the name..
About two years ago the kitchen team and myself were brainstorming on a logo or symbol that we could use to express the characteristics of our cuisine. A few days after that meeting a chef brought me a piece of paper that he printed off the net. It was the Alinea symbol with a definition. I was immediately drawn to it. Not only for it's direct meaning......and the parallel to the different style of cuisine that we were producing at the time, the symbol itself with such history linked to alchemy, the asthetics of the lines, but I also felt like it perfectly captured the emotional state of a chef as they underwent the process of creating a new restaurant. I tucked the piece of paper away for two years....knowing I would use it eventually.

The creative team...
The staff of Alinea will constist of many dedcated passionate individuals...many of which I have not even met yet...however, I am currently working with a group of amazing people. From Trio.. pastry chef Curtis Duffy and sous chef John Peters have commited to positions at Alinea. They will also be part of the test kitchen/menu development process that wil happen during the iterim period. We will have a regimented outline designed during this period to create new techniques and produce mature dishes for the opening. They will also play a large role in the delvelopment of the kitchen design, which I believe will prove to be very different than the norm..at least in this country.
They will both hold sous chef titles at Alinea.
Joe Catterson will assume the role of GM/ Wine Director. I was very excited that Joe agreed to join the team. He will also contibute a great deal to the design of the restaurant and will undoubtably craft a wine/service experience at the hightest level.
I imagine the restaurant to employ nearly 40 people, obviously I have only mentioned a few above, and I am excited to bring every member of the team aboard.
We suspect the launch of the website to be in two weeks. I will post the link when it is available. At that time you wil be able to see the other members of the creative team's work. It is truely is a network of 12-14 people and growing whom really understand the philosophy, vision, goals, and standard.

It is my intention to keep up to the best of my ability with this thread. We are also entertaining the thought of documenting the development of Alinea after August 15th on our website. Both in the physical changes to the building as far as design, and the results of the test kitchen and dish development. Maybe we can work something out with egullet to help organize this in a productive way.

I welcome questions but bear in mind I will not be able to answer promply or at all...but I will do my best.

Grant.
--
Grant Achatz
Chef/Owner
Alinea

#2 bleachboy

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 11:50 PM

Thank you for the update and the hard work refining the culinary arts, Chef Achatz, and best of luck to you in your new venture! Break a leg!
Don Moore
Nashville, TN
Peace on Earth

#3 yellow truffle

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 05:05 AM

chefG
Thanx for the report. Through your words, one is left excited to be part of your new team. I hope to experience your new venture, through the possible documentation process on the web and experiencing the new space. With you as the man behind the concept and everything else, I am sure that the food and experience will be nothing less than spectacular. I cant wait. Good luck.
yt

#4 adoxograph

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 06:13 AM

Chef, I have to say Alinea is a great name - the symbol is a pilcrow, correct? Like this:


--adoxograph

#5 slbunge

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 06:22 AM

Chef, I have to say Alinea is a great name - the symbol is a pilcrow, correct? Like this:

I found a link to a symbol 'dictionary' here. Not quite the pilcrow but similar.

Edited to add: Congratulations and good luck chefg.

Edited by slbunge, 04 June 2004 - 06:31 AM.

Stephen Bunge
St Paul, MN

#6 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 07:39 AM

Congratulations Chef!

Thank you very much for stopping by and filling in some of the blanks for us. Please do keep us updated as you can. It's much appreciated. Very much looking to the web site launch as well. :smile:

Are you a little busy over there? :biggrin:

=R=
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#7 Jinmyo

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 08:37 AM

Best of the best, Grant. This is an excellent opportunity.
"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

#8 chicagowench

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 10:11 AM

chefg, congratulations on your new venture. I had the pleasure of dining at Trio with my mother last September. While I'm bummed I won't be able to take my husband there and experience your cuisine in that lovely space with him, we're both looking forward to experiencing your new venture when we get back up to Chicago. I realize it's yet more work, but I think the idea of documenting the evolution of Alinea on the website is great.
What do you mean I shouldn't feed the baby sushi?

#9 chefwoody

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Posted 07 June 2004 - 11:59 PM

Chef,

It's finally happening: doubtless, a large step down the path towards something great. I can't wait to see Alinea establish itself as a new hub for American progressive cuisine.

Wish I could be there.

Cheers and congratulations.

#10 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 05:16 AM

I had the pleasure a week ago not only of dining there but of hanging out in the kitchen. The kitchen runs smoothly and cleanly. Chef Grant, at work, is one of the quietest chefs I've encountered. What I admired most is that the innovative techniques (which I have been very very skeptical of) are used to logical effect to create satisfying rather than simply surprising dishes. Grant's opening his own restaurant is something I'll greatly anticipate. And his partner Henry, clearly a unique ebullient talent in his own right, will no doubt take Trio in an exciting direction as well. I'm really looking forward to it all.

#11 Lady T

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 10:24 AM

:wink:

All the best, Chef. If there's anything we can do to help -- a lot of eGullet Midwest folks are within easy reach! -- give a post.

:biggrin:
Me, I vote for the joyride every time.
-- 2/19/2004

#12 bleachboy

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 01:48 PM

Just please try to be open in time for November 2. It's my birthday, and I traveled to Chicago for a Trio TDF last year. :) Would love to make Alinea this year!
Don Moore
Nashville, TN
Peace on Earth

#13 eggplantconfit

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 06:17 PM

ate at trio saturday night. i believe it was my sixth time in a year. great as always and will see you at alinea.
ms

#14 docsconz

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 07:00 PM

Unfortunately, I will have missed your work at Trio, but I'm looking forward to making it out to Chicago to dine at Alinea. Best wishes.
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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#15 Bicycle Lee

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 08:09 AM

I too will most likely miss your work at Trio, which I have heard from firsthand witnesses was "transcendent". However, I will no doubt be coming to Alinea at some point....
Also.....are you hiring for any kitchen positions still?
"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

#16 chizzy

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 08:12 AM

Good question, are you taking stages or hiring yet?
I'm not a biter, I'm a writer for myself and others...

#17 chefg

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 03:37 PM

Good question, are you taking stages or hiring yet?

I have only retained management positions for Alinea at this point. I would suggest checking the website frequently when it launches sometime in the next two weeks. It will offer information regarding externships, employment and stage opportunities available when we decide to start taking commitments for these positions.
--
Grant Achatz
Chef/Owner
Alinea

#18 chefg

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 03:49 PM

I too will most likely miss your work at Trio, which I have heard from firsthand witnesses was "transcendent". However, I will no doubt be coming to Alinea at some point....
Also.....are you hiring for any kitchen positions still?

As I mentioned before, I have commitments for two sous chef positions. One of the current sous chefs at Trio and the current pastry chef at Trio will fill those roles. I suspect three of the chefs I have on staff here will cross over to Alinea, however with an anticipated opening date in January, this period of time may cause some pre-committed attrition.

As I see it now the team will be composed of at least 15, probably closer to 20 with the presence of externs and long term stages. I am included in that count, as my role is a very involved one in day-to-day prep and service. Under me there will either be three sous chefs OR two sous chefs and a pastry chef. That is yet to be determined. All other staff will be at a chef de partie level, we will not utilize commis at Alinea. Nor will we give classical titles to the cooks such as saucier or garde manger, as the cuisine will not follow those predetermined guidelines.
--
Grant Achatz
Chef/Owner
Alinea

#19 Bicycle Lee

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 05:32 PM

well, I will be sure to check the site and perhaps send you a resume when that time comes.
"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

#20 Schneier

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 06:19 PM

Congratulations and good luck. When will you officially leave Trio?

Bruce

#21 chefg

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Posted 10 June 2004 - 08:43 PM

Congratulations and good luck.  When will you officially leave Trio?

Bruce

July 31st.
--
Grant Achatz
Chef/Owner
Alinea

#22 chizzy

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Posted 11 June 2004 - 07:02 PM

how many seats do you hope to have at your new place

Edited by chizzy, 11 June 2004 - 07:03 PM.

I'm not a biter, I'm a writer for myself and others...

#23 Michael Laiskonis

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Posted 11 June 2004 - 09:58 PM

Extremely happy to hear that the project is under way, Grant. I'm eagerly anticipating this next phase...
Michael Laiskonis
Pastry Chef
New York
www.michael-laiskonis.com

#24 chefg

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Posted 11 June 2004 - 10:15 PM

how many seats do you hope to have at your new place

I expect it to be between 65 and 75 seats. Roughly 20 to 25 tables. 5 to 7 on the first floor and the balance on the second floor.
--
Grant Achatz
Chef/Owner
Alinea

#25 Louisa Chu

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 07:54 AM

Chef, congratulations. And thank you again for allowing me the privilege to stage in your kitchen - it was an honour and a pleasure. Bon courage to you, John, Curtis, and Joe. I'm looking forward to what comes next from your new team's hands, hearts, and minds.

Will you have the controversial Kitchen Table? And what kitchens worldwide are you drawing upon for design?

#26 Bicycle Lee

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 09:07 AM

what will the website address be for Alinea?
"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

#27 robert40

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 09:14 AM

Good luck Chef!!
I never had any doubt that you would not be one of the best.

Robert
Robert R

#28 chefg

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 09:37 AM

Will you have the controversial Kitchen Table? And what kitchens worldwide are you drawing upon for design?

When I was at the French Laundry a small group of us would sit around after service and fanticize about dream kitchens and how we would change the laundry kitchen to better suit our needs. Of course the kitchen that we were standing in at the time was beautiful by present day standards, however every cook can always come up with ways to make his/her operation more efficient and aesthetically appealing.

When the opportunity presented itself for this project the ideas flooded my mind how we would design a kitchen to help us execute our cuisine. Not unlike food… kitchen design has done little in terms of moving forward in modern times. Classic designs and traditional cooking suites are the norm in today’s high-end kitchens. They are dominating by French Top and open burner heat sources. These ranges are fine for kitchens that employ traditional methods of cooking their products. We have these systems in place at Trio and have done our best to make them work for us, however we could be much more efficient if the kitchen were built around the cuisine, not just put in place because it is what everyone else uses. If a cook is poaching lobster en sous vide at 128 F and has componets such as a self encapsulated sauce that needs to be heated in a 155 F water bath, a broth that needs to be boiled prior to serving, a sugar component that needs a salamander to melt it , and an oven to warm the arromatic bread... a raging french top does him little good. However, if he had two highly sensitive induction units that he could set the temperature for the poaching applications, the salamnder above him for the sugar, with the oven below for the bread, and the open burner to boil his broth... he is in good shape. Not to mention the grill pan resting on the French top nearby , the tempura oil at the perfect temperture and the hot saute pan ready for searing the garnish..with the freezer to his immediate left ...all for the use to assemble the other dish he is responsible for. To top all of that off in 6 weeks neither of the menu items I described above will be on the menu, so now he has to be able to morph his station to fit the needs of the next dishes.....and so on.

Two months ago on a busy night I took a step back and viewed the line in action. Within a 8 foot linear space the team was employing 11 different cooking techniques. It struck me then that with the complexity and varied cooking we do we need a kitchen that is universal and flexible. With the menu in constant state of evolution it is imperative that the cooks have the ability to manipulate their station to fit the dishes they are responsible for.

It is my intention to create a kitchen that can be in constant flux. We will utilize induction as 50 % of our heat sources followed by 25% radiant salamanders and 25% tradition stoves and ranges. The idea here is to provide a wide range heat source possibilities to the cook so the physical design of the kitchen does not become a limiting factor of creativity. The same idea will be applied to refrigoration and freezer spaces.


I could and will spend several hours thinking and writing about the kitchen design of Alinea. This is just a glimpse.

To answer your question directly. None. I am analyzing the cuisine we currently produce , trying to determine where it will evolve to, and allowing the cuisne to design our kitchen for us.

No kitchen table.

Edited by chefg, 12 June 2004 - 10:49 AM.

--
Grant Achatz
Chef/Owner
Alinea

#29 chefseanbrock

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 09:47 AM

sounds very exciting, who will manufacture the induction stoves?

#30 ducphat30

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 07:33 PM

Chefg,

What has your experience been with cooktek? Seeing as they are located extremely close to downtown (Chicago)would they be a company that you would consider using from a maintenance repair standpoint?

I am assuming that you will not be using a classic line whether it be a French suite or the classsic American straight line, have you considered individual pieces that would you suit your needs, set on casters, with industrial "snaps" to hold into place. Essentially you could "rebuild" your line as you needed it. I ask out of my own curiosity in redefining menu engineering. I am looking forward to this thread as your new "train" keeps on chugging, best of luck with all that is involved.

ducphat30
Patrick Sheerin





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