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Grant Achatz Wins Beard Award!


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Two questions: was it surprising Takashi of Tribute won Best Chef Midwest over the Chicago chefs nominated and that no pieces by Chicago newspaper food writers were nominated this year? Was anyone or anything from last year overlooked by the judges that shouldn't have been?

(Thank you to Andrew Herrmann at the Sun-Times for his professionalism.)

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Yes, many congratulations to Chef Achatz! He deserved this award last year, so I'm thrilled to see him finally bring it home. We are really lucky to have him (and Trio) so close to Chicago!

Here is a link that appeared in the Metro section of the Trib. yesterday (you may need to register, but it's free. maybe not worth the trouble though, as it is just a recap of the Beard Awards.)

Also here is a link to a great in-depth article about Chef Achatz from NewCity Chicago---a free publication available around the city and suburbs (my friends picked up a copy for me at Kafien in Evanston). The entire text is online, but if you find the magazine it has a huge picture of chefg on the cover, which is pretty cool.

(edit: link Trib. story)

Edited by RyneSchraw (log)
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Two questions:  was it surprising Takashi of Tribute won Best Chef Midwest over the Chicago chefs nominated

I don't think I'd seen that piece of news yet... Cool. Just one more reason for that eGullet excursion to Michigan...

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Well, thanks Ryne, that NewCity Chicago article is a must-read and very, very compelling and it made me a little "itchy" reading it. I bet you thought eGullet was the repository of all there was to know about Grant, well, it isn't. This is the opening of Emily B. Hunt's engaging profile:

"Charlie Trotter sat on the hood of his maroon Jaguar in the alley next to his eponymous restaurant in Chicago. A young cook approached him quietly. He told Trotter that he intended to leave, only six months into his employment. Trotter gave the cook his standard speech. He warned the cook that if he did not stay at the restaurant for a full year, that the cook would not exist, period. Trotter said, "Don't ever call me. Don't ever use me as a reference. Don't put me on your resume. As far as I am concerned, if you haven't worked here a year, you haven't worked here." The cook quit anyway. Five years later, in July of 2001, he found his way back to the area, as the new chef of Trio. The young cook is now wonderboy chef Grant Achatz--and he has returned to Trotter's home turf in an effort to find his own style, voice and maybe even his own fame."

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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(Thank you to Andrew Herrmann at the Sun-Times for his professionalism.)

Indeed. Some journalists would have tossed off that quote with much more vague attribution.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Steve Dolinksy of the Tribune didn't win for his Good Eating show, but he did win for Short Form radio.

I'm not surprised Andrew Herrman is so ethical, he used to be the Sun-Times religion writer.

Hopefully that New City piece will get nominated next year, it was great. Thanks Ryne for the link.

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Wow. What an incredible piece of writing that was. Magnified by my extreme admiration for Chef Achatz, this is likely one of the most compelling articles I've read in years.

Thanks, Ryne.

I think my opinion of Mr. Trotter has changed.

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Two questions:  was it surprising Takashi of Tribute won Best Chef Midwest over the Chicago chefs nominated and that no pieces by Chicago newspaper food writers were nominated this year? Was anyone or anything from last year overlooked by the judges that shouldn't have been?

(Thank you to Andrew Herrmann at the Sun-Times for his professionalism.)

Surprising? Why would it be surprising? :blink:

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"I think my opinion of Mr. Trotter has changed."

Why? How many high-end chefs would respond differently, confronted with a six-month short-timer apparently doing the same thing many, many others had done before him: get his feet slightly damp in a famous kitchen, bail, and add the kitchen's name to his resume? How, strictly on the evidence, could Trotter have known?

If anything, I think Chef Achatz is about to find out exactly how it feels to walk in those shoes: with the James Beard Award imprimatur, all the young short-timer opportunists are going to come flocking to his kitchen now.

:huh:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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I'm glad I've now had a chance to read the Hunt piece... I had heard rumours about its content over the weekend, most of which now seem overblown.

In his acceptance speech Monday night, his ultimately humble nature was evident as he gave all the credit to his kitchen team, and "my mentor, Thomas Keller." And hanging out with him afterward, he was still all about business.

As for Steve's question regarding the Midwest regional award, I'd like to think Takashi has had a long record and staying power; remember that he ran the kitchen at Ambria for years before coming to open Tribute. Tony Mantuano has also maintained the same level, but seems to me to keep a lower profile perhaps, and I think Kahan and Kornick, and Roger Johnsson, all still relatively young, will eventually have their day.

Honestly though, I think all of us at one time or another have wondered how exactly the Beard Awards selection really works...

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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"I think my opinion of Mr. Trotter has changed."

Why?  How many high-end chefs would respond differently, confronted with a six-month short-timer apparently doing the same thing many, many others had done before him: get his feet slightly damp in a famous kitchen, bail, and add the kitchen's name to his resume?  How, strictly on the evidence, could Trotter have known?

If anything, I think Chef Achatz is about to find out exactly how it feels to walk in those shoes: with the James Beard Award imprimatur, all the young short-timer opportunists are going to come flocking to his kitchen now.

:huh:

For the record I felt like the piece portrayed me as an egotistical, shallow person, with little respect for Chef Trotter or Chef Keller.

I respect both chefs immensely for their contributions to the culinary world and would never intentionally bad-mouth them in any way.

--

Grant Achatz

Chef/Owner

Alinea

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"I think my opinion of Mr. Trotter has changed."

Why?  How many high-end chefs would respond differently, confronted with a six-month short-timer apparently doing the same thing many, many others had done before him: get his feet slightly damp in a famous kitchen, bail, and add the kitchen's name to his resume?  How, strictly on the evidence, could Trotter have known?

If anything, I think Chef Achatz is about to find out exactly how it feels to walk in those shoes: with the James Beard Award imprimatur, all the young short-timer opportunists are going to come flocking to his kitchen now.

:huh:

For the record I felt like the piece portrayed me as an egotistical, shallow person, with little respect for Chef Trotter or Chef Keller.

I respect both chefs immensely for their contributions to the culinary world and would never intentionally bad-mouth them in any way.

Congratulations on your award, Chefg.

I don't think the article portrayed you as egotistical or shallow.

It impressed me more as painting a faint David and Goliath allegory with regard to you and Chef Trotter. I found that troublesome. It was unexpected. I grabbed a copy of New City for the purpose of reading about you. I can read about Charlie Trotter from an endless amount of sources. The need to thread the article with constant references to Chef Trotter and "Trotter is a meanie" jabs worked against the article as a whole and detracted from the subject -- you. Instead, the article was about you and the reporter's apparent need to indirectly grind an ax with Chef Trotter. In that regard, the piece read like two separate articles.

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"I think my opinion of Mr. Trotter has changed."

Why?  How many high-end chefs would respond differently, confronted with a six-month short-timer apparently doing the same thing many, many others had done before him: get his feet slightly damp in a famous kitchen, bail, and add the kitchen's name to his resume?  How, strictly on the evidence, could Trotter have known?

If anything, I think Chef Achatz is about to find out exactly how it feels to walk in those shoes: with the James Beard Award imprimatur, all the young short-timer opportunists are going to come flocking to his kitchen now.

:huh:

For the record I felt like the piece portrayed me as an egotistical, shallow person, with little respect for Chef Trotter or Chef Keller.

I respect both chefs immensely for their contributions to the culinary world and would never intentionally bad-mouth them in any way.

Congratulations on your award, Chefg.

I don't think the article portrayed you as egotistical or shallow.

It impressed me more as painting a faint David and Goliath allegory with regard to you and Chef Trotter. I found that troublesome. It was unexpected. I grabbed a copy of New City for the purpose of reading about you. I can read about Charlie Trotter from an endless amount of sources. The need to thread the article with constant references to Chef Trotter and "Trotter is a meanie" jabs worked against the article as a whole and detracted from the subject -- you. Instead, the article was about you and the reporter's apparent need to indirectly grind an ax with Chef Trotter. In that regard, the piece read like two separate articles.

Not to throw gas on the fire, but...

I thought Trotter seemed like he had a stick up his butt

I've known people who worked for him that said he was pretty psychotic, but alot of the good ones are.

2317/5000

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I have the NewCity article taped to the wall above my stove.

Was that the article where he talked about a dish meant to evoke being in a forest, with ramps, wild mushrooms, frog's legs, mushroom foam, and evergreen vapor?

Holy cats, Batman.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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I have the NewCity article taped to the wall above my stove.

Was that the article where he talked about a dish meant to evoke being in a forest, with ramps, wild mushrooms, frog's legs, mushroom foam, and evergreen vapor?

Holy cats, Batman.

How goofy...not you Nero, but the notion that you'd want to feel like you were in an evergreen forest while you were being pampered at Charlie's. That's called playing with your food, and that's offensive.

What's next...a duck blood vapor served misted with your boudin noir so you can get the whole slaughterhouse experience? I was happily relieved (since my Bittman post refused to materialize) to see Mark slam this new food trend...the Adria rip offs. Food is sensory, and should be enjoyed on many levels but to try and put you in a forest with some deconstructed bs is a moronic trend only executed well by a rare few....

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Holy cats, Batman.

How goofy...not you Nero, but the notion that you'd want to feel like you were in an evergreen forest while you were being pampered at Charlie's. That's called playing with your food, and that's offensive.

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this is a trio dish we're talking about here. 

mike

It is a Trio dish Mike. The intent is less to take you to a place and more to reintroduce the dinning public to a flavor (pine) that has been mostly forgotten over the years. With the execption of pine nuts, juniper, rosemary, cedar planks, maple syrup to name the few on the top of my head.

--

Grant Achatz

Chef/Owner

Alinea

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this is a trio dish we're talking about here. 

mike

It is a Trio dish Mike. The intent is less to take you to a place and more to reintroduce the dinning public to a flavor (pine) that has been mostly forgotten over the years. With the execption of pine nuts, juniper, rosemary, cedar planks, maple syrup to name the few on the top of my head.

Who's been longing to eat pine?

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this is a trio dish we're talking about here.�

mike

It is a Trio dish Mike. The intent is less to take you to a place and more to reintroduce the dinning public to a flavor (pine) that has been mostly forgotten over the years. With the execption of pine nuts, juniper, rosemary, cedar planks, maple syrup to name the few on the top of my head.

Who's been longing to eat pine?

That is his point. :wink:

Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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this is a trio dish we're talking about here.�

mike

It is a Trio dish Mike. The intent is less to take you to a place and more to reintroduce the dinning public to a flavor (pine) that has been mostly forgotten over the years. With the execption of pine nuts, juniper, rosemary, cedar planks, maple syrup to name the few on the top of my head.

Who's been longing to eat pine?

That is his point. :wink:

Oh....I get it....sardonic humor....

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