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maggiethecat

Grant Achatz: The Now and the Next

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This story in the Trib on Grant Achatz is the most information about the chef I've read in one story. Who knew that his feud with Trotter is still ongoing? And I think his idea for his next restaurant, um, Next, is outtasight brilliant. The "reservation" system, not so much.

Read it here.

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I think we might need a separate eGullet thread dedicated to putting together tables of 2, 4, or 6.

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I wonder if people will scalp the tickets. The Valentine's Day reservation for Heston Blumenthal's restaurant on eBay sold for 237 Euros. It seems like it'd be easier to scalp a ticket than a reservation.

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I think I'm pretty high on the list, as I signed up very early. I really can't wait though! I think this is just as interesting of a concept as GA's first venture.

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Not sure if anyone else saw this, but Chef Grant and Nick K are doing a talk at Kendall College on March 11th from 2-4pm. Cost is $45 and includes a reception and a copy of his new book. Should be a neat event.

*I'm not attached to the event or Kendall at all...just a fan that'll be attending.

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For those interested, he's the guest on NPR's "Fresh Air" tomorrow.

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For those interested, he's the guest on NPR's "Fresh Air" tomorrow.

Thanks, pax!

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Last week's release party for Life, on the Line, to which I received an invite, was really cool. The highlight of the evening was when Nick surprised Grant with the completely restored 1970 Pontiac GTO that Grant had once restored with his father back when he was a kid. The car eventually ended up with one of Grant's uncles. Nick tracked it down, bought it and had it entirely restored. A short video documenting the entire story was shown during the event, after which the car was delivered on a flatbed trailer to Grant right outside the gallery. It was fun seeing his reaction.

The event was attended by a lot of Alinea alums, too. In the house were Curtis Duffy of Avenues (whose food was served at the event) and John Peters (now at The Chopping Block), both of whom left Trio with Grant to start Alinea. Also in the house were Jeff Pikus (now running the show at Maude's Liquor Bar), Nathan Klingbail (helping out in the kitchen at Schwa at the moment) and several other current and former Alinea cooks. I also have to give a shout out to my friend and eGullet member yellow truffle, who was also in attendance with his wife. Yellow received a few mentions in the book, which was very cool to see.

The party took place at 8 pm CT on Thursday March 3 and by that time -- the day the book was released -- it had already made it into the Top 100 books at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

=R=

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Grant twittered with a link to the video and the blog. Very cool. The amount of work that went into the restoring the car was pretty amazing, and it was a very special gift, indeed.

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This story in the Trib on Grant Achatz is the most information about the chef I've read in one story. Who knew that his feud with Trotter is still ongoing? And I think his idea for his next restaurant, um, Next, is outtasight brilliant. The "reservation" system, not so much.

Read it here.

Thanks for directing us to that article.

Regarding the ticket sales to Next. I found one of their reasons for doing it a bit odd. The article said that if they lost one reservation at Alinea, it would really cut into margin for that night. Two reservations? They lose money.

But doesn't Alinea have a long wait list? Surely on any given night, they could find someone on that list to fill the open table.

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Regarding the ticket sales to Next. I found one of their reasons for doing it a bit odd. The article said that if they lost one reservation at Alinea, it would really cut into margin for that night. Two reservations? They lose money.

But doesn't Alinea have a long wait list? Surely on any given night, they could find someone on that list to fill the open table.

With enough notice, sure. But cancellations just before the reservation time or no-shows...

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This story in the Trib on Grant Achatz is the most information about the chef I've read in one story. Who knew that his feud with Trotter is still ongoing? And I think his idea for his next restaurant, um, Next, is outtasight brilliant. The "reservation" system, not so much.

Read it here.

There really is no feud with Trotter. I think the press has blown those parts of the book out of proportion which Grant has tried to explain in some interviews this week.

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I saw Achatz and Kokonas give a talk about the book earlier this week and they did not seem at all like they were feuding with Trotter. Kokonas spoke of Trotter with reverence and Achatz was sympathetic to Trotter.

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I need to re-read the part about Trotter in the new book, but as I recall the basic story is that Achatz went to work for Trotter and then wanted to move on after just a few months, and Trotter said if you haven't been here for a year don't even think about putting us on your resume or saying you worked here, you're nobody to us, etc. And what Achatz said on Monday night is that, as a chef-owner now, he sympathizes because he gets stagiares in his restaurant who stay for four days and later he gets a Google News alert that says that person worked at Alinea.

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There was an article in Red Eye on Wednesday where Kokonas indicated they'd start sending e-mails soon, in groups of 500 per hour. Unfortunately I can't locate the link.

So has anyone received an e-mail?

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I saw Achatz and Kokonas give a talk about the book earlier this week and they did not seem at all like they were feuding with Trotter. Kokonas spoke of Trotter with reverence and Achatz was sympathetic to Trotter.

In the book Kokonas, somewhat jokingly, indicates that Alinea should have been named FUCT, as in Fuck You Charlie Trotter. While I realize this was probably just retrospective, the book did just come out and there's not a whole lot of love for Trotter in it.

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There was an interview with Achatz and Kokonas on the Jet City Gastrophysics site. There were several great aspects to the interview. Perhaps most interesting was when the queston was raised about Modernist Cuisine and Nick Kokonas answered

What do you think of the Modernist Cuisine cookbook?

NK: It’s pretty mind blowing. We produced the Alinea book, which is basically one of their five volumes, and we did that ourselves, much like they did. Actually I talked with Nathan when he embarked on this. I told him all about our printing, but I had no idea what he was going to try to do. I mean, I’m not a chef. For me it’s really useful because they break it down in a very logical way, and the photography is absolutely stunning. I was just over there and we had fourteen courses in an hour, and it was delicious, and it was good, too, it was as good as any restaurant I’ve had. So, really, kudos to him.

I think there’s a general feeling in the restaurant industry – I don’t really consider myself part of the industry, even though I kind of am, obviously – “Hey, he’s got a lot money, he’s got a lot time, he just has to hire the right people, of course he can do this, but we can’t.” And it’s just a terrible excuse. What they don’t realize is that you don’t get smart, ambitious and good taste because you have a bunch of money. It’s the other way around. And he’s passionately curious and all those things. For instance, I’m friends with Ruhlman but I thought Ruhlman’s review of the book in the New York Times was really smug. [Nick looks at my iPhone, which is recording the conversation] Ruhlman, if you’re listening, it was really smug. He sat on the fence perfectly with that review.


Edited by JBailey (log)

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Friday night we ate at Next and had a couple of drinks at Aviary as part of a friends and family night (I'm still stunned we were invited).

The meal was comped and it was still just a dress rehearsal so I don't want to get into to much detail. I will say that these are both going to be very special places. The dinner at Next was definitely one of the best classic French meals I've ever had. The duck is sure to be a signature dish.

Aviary is very interesting. I'm sure there will be cocktail snobs turned off by the setup, but I really enjoyed what we had (for one of my drinks I had the Old Fashioned where you had to break the ice to get to the drink. I want to keep the ice breaking method a surprise though, it's very clever and a lot of fun). It's probably best to think of Aviary as a restaurant that primarily "cooks" drinks. I really wouldn't consider it a true bar. There's also a nice selection of "bites" to go with the drinks.

I'm very excited to see how both places continue to evolve.

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Friday night we ate at Next and had a couple of drinks at Aviary as part of a friends and family night (I'm still stunned we were invited).

The meal was comped and it was still just a dress rehearsal so I don't want to get into to much detail. I will say that these are both going to be very special places. The dinner at Next was definitely one of the best classic French meals I've ever had. The duck is sure to be a signature dish.

...

Has anyone been to Next now that it's officially open? I was expecting to see some posts here from folks who've dined there.

I booked the Kitchen Table for the last Sunday in June (near the end of the run for Paris 1906). My friends and I are quite excited about our trip. Will definitely report back about our experience. :smile:

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We went a couple weeks in and really enjoyed our dinner. I don't know how much I have to add to the countless write-ups elsewhere on the net. Since the menu isn't really variable within a season, there's not a lot to report on, I guess...

The eggs Benedictine and pork rillettes hors d'oeuvre, the stuffed mushroom on the fish course and everything about the duck were mind-blowing. The turtle soup and the beet pâtes de fruits are my unsung heros for astonishing accomplishments in subtlety.

The only thing that came close to a disappointment was the chicken/cucumber plate. I certainly appreciated what they were trying to do with it, and the wine pairing was a bold choice delicious in its own right, but there's a pretty paltry amount of chicken on the plate, and the cucumber and salt pork dominate it. Perhaps I'm just perturbed that this was the best white meat chicken I've had that wasn't cooked in a pig's bladder at Paul Bocuse and it wasn't even center stage in its own dish.

My wife found the dessert bland. I was of the opinion that letting it warm on your tongue really opened up the flavor, and that the port was an exceptional match. She couldn't get past how cold it was served.

We had the standard wine pairing, which was excellent. The somewhat out of the box but exceptional selections have become something of a hallmark for Alinea, and it's great to see that has carried over to the new venture. The wine from the Jura that's paired with the turtle soup (Montbourgeau l'Etoile, non-fortified, but somewhat sherry-like) is haunting, I really want to get a bottle to try and mix in cocktails...

Service was exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable to a pretty ridiculous detail, but perhaps not quite up to Alinea standards on the nuts and bolts.

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Tickets for the Thai menu close to going live. Here's a Tweet from Chef Achatz:

http://yfrog.com/gygl0alj Tickets on sale soon.

Wish I had a better sense of what "soon" means...

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