Grant Achatz

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Grant Achatz
Achatz.jpeg
Achatz plating a dish for diners at Alinea
Born (1974-04-25) April 25, 1974 (age 44)
Education Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York
Culinary career
Cooking style Molecular gastronomy
Conceptual modernism

Grant Achatz (born April 25, 1974)[1] is an American chef and restaurateur often recognized for his contributions to molecular gastronomy or progressive cuisine. His Chicago restaurant Alinea has won numerous accolades, and Achatz himself has won numerous awards from prominent culinary institutions and publications including the "Rising Star Chef of the Year Award" for 2003, "Best Chef in the United States" for 2008, and a 2012 "Who's Who Inductee" from the James Beard Foundation.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Achatz's early culinary career included time spent working in his parents' restaurants in St. Clair, Michigan[3] as a teenager, followed by enrollment in The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Following graduation in 1994, Achatz landed a position at Charlie Trotter's.[4] After a time, he found a position at Thomas Keller's highly acclaimed restaurant, The French Laundry, in Yountville, California. Achatz spent four years at The French Laundry, rising to the position of sous chef.

Career[edit]

In 2001, Achatz moved to the Chicago area to become the Executive Chef at Trio in Evanston, Illinois, which at the time of his arrival had a four-star rating from the Mobil Travel Guide. Over the next three years, with Achatz at the helm, Trio's reputation soared,[5] and in 2004 the restaurant was rewarded with a fifth star from Mobil, becoming one of just 13 restaurants so honored at the time.

In 2005, Achatz went out on his own, opening Alinea in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood with Nick Kokonas. The restaurant is located up the block from the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company and is housed in a modest gray brick building which bears no external markings beyond its street number. Inside, the restaurant has no bar, no lobby, and seats just 64 guests. Achatz serves diners a small-course tasting menu, running approximately 18 courses. After less than two years of operation, the Mobil Travel Guide bestowed its Five Star Award on Alinea, making Alinea one of just 16 restaurants nationwide to rate five stars for 2007.

In October 2006, Gourmet magazine named Alinea the best restaurant in America in its feature on "America's Top 50 Restaurants".

In 2007, Restaurant magazine added Alinea to its list of the 50 best restaurants in the world at number 36, the highest new entry of the year. In 2008, that publication moved Alinea up its list 15 spots, to number 21 in the world. In 2009 Alinea moved up to number 10 in the world, and advanced to number 7 for 2010, when it was also the highest ranked North American restaurant honored. Alinea maintained its top North American Ranking for 2011, while moving up one position overall to 6th best restaurant in the world. In 2012, Alinea came down one spot on the list. Per Se gained the 6th place, thus making Alinea the 2nd best restaurant in the U.S. and 7th overall.

In November 2009, Achatz and his Alinea team designed the menu for Ikarus, a restaurant in Salzburg, Austria which brings in a top chef from a different restaurant each month to design the menu for that month and train the staff.[6]

Alinea was awarded three stars in the 2011 Michelin Guide for Chicago.[7] It was repeated in 2012 when Alinea was the only restaurant to receive three stars in the 2012 Michelin Guide for Chicago.[8]

Achatz's other restaurants include Next, a restaurant that uses a unique ticketing system in Chicago,[9] and Aviary, a bar.[10] Roister Chicago, a casual West Loop concept helmed by Chef Andrew Brochu, The Office, a speakeasy cocktail bar located under The Aviary bar, and The Aviary/ Office NYC located in the Mandarin Oriental, New York.

Reservations for Achatz's restaurant, Next, are so sought after, that tickets could be found on Craigslist for up to $500 per person.[11] In February 2012, Achatz held a Dutch Auction for tickets to Next's elBulli-inspired menu, raising over $275,000 for charity in just two days.[12] Auction prices ranged from $4000 – $5000 for parties of two.

Achatz has also served as a coach for the biennial culinary competition in Lyon, France, Bocuse d'Or.[13]

All restaurants use unique ticketing system and reservation platform Tock, which was founded by Nick Kokonas and of which Achatz serves as both an investor and hospitality advisor. In 2016 Achatz and partner Nick Kokonas closed Alinea for a complete renovation and overhaul of the food, space, and experience.

In 2016 Achatz and his team launched two consecutive multi-week pop-up experiences in Madrid, Spain and Miami, Florida over the course of Alinea’s closure.

On May 27, 2016, Achatz appeared on season two of the Netflix series Chef’s Table.

Books[edit]

In October 2008, Grant Achatz and co-author Nick Kokonas published Alinea, a hardcover coffee table book featuring more than 100 of the restaurant's recipes. The book's narrative follows life in the kitchen for Achatz and his crew, and includes more than 400 behind-the-scenes photographs by Lara Kastner.[14]

In June 2009, Achatz and Kokonas sold Life, On the Line, their dual-voiced recount of their collaboration on Alinea and Achatz's battle with cancer to Gotham Books.[15] The book was released on March 3, 2011.

Kokonas and Achatz have also released two digital cookbooks from Next Restaurant, one on the Apple iBook platform, and one in a more universal PDF format. As in the style of the Alinea cookbook, both books provide the exact recipes used during the Paris 1906 and Tour of Thailand menus, without making adjustments for the average home cook. While the Paris 1906 book was released for purchase via iTunes, Tour of Thailand was released on a pay-what-you-want model on Next's ticketing site.[16]

Grant was featured in a 2014 Dan Waldschmidt's book Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Outrageous Success, a book about preventing suicide with sense with stories about famous people that had disasters. Almost at the end of the book, he told the story about Grant's tongue cancer in July 2007 and the success of his restaurant in that time.

Personal life[edit]

On July 23, 2007, Achatz announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth, which may have spread to his lymph nodes. Initially, Achatz was told that only radical surgery was indicated, which would remove part of his mandibular anatomy and large swaths of neck tissue. Later, University of Chicago physicians prescribed a course of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. This led to full remission, albeit with some side effects including a transitory loss of his sense of taste, which eventually returned.[17] On December 18, 2007, Achatz announced that he was cancer-free. He credited an aggressive protocol of chemotherapy and radiation administered at the University of Chicago Medical Center for driving his cancer into full remission. The treatment regimen, administered under the direction of Drs. Vokes, Blair and Haraf at U of C, did not require radical invasive surgery on Achatz' tongue.[18]

He has two sons, Kaden and Keller. The latter name was chosen partly in honor of Achatz’s mentor Thomas Keller. Nick Kokonas, his business partner, officiated Achatz’s wedding in Napa County, California; Achatz remained legally married to the mother of his children for less than a year before divorcing.[19]

Awards[edit]

  • Best New Chefs, Food & Wine Magazine, 2002[20]
  • Best Restaurant in America, Gourmet Magazine, 2006[21]
  • 40 Top Chicago Restaurants Ever, Chicago Magazine, #1, 2010[22]
  • AAA Five Diamond Award, AAA, 2007–2017[23][24][25][26][27]
  • Mobil Five Star Award, Mobil Travel Guide, 2007–2017[28][29][30][31][32][33]
  • Jean Banchet Award – Best Celebrity Chef, 2007
  • Jean Banchet Award – Best Fine Dining, 2007
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #36, 2007[34]
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, Highest New Entry, 2007[34]
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #21, 2008[35]
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #10, 2009[36]
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #7, 2010[37]
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In North America, 2010[37]
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #6, 2011[38]
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In North America, 2011[38]
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, Chefs' Choice Award, 2013
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #9, 2014
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #26, 2015
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #15, 2016
  • The S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants, #21, 2017
  • James Beard Foundation Award – Rising Star Chef of the Year, 2003
  • James Beard Foundation Award – Best Chef: Great Lakes, 2007[39]
  • James Beard Foundation Award – Outstanding Chef, 2008[40][41]
  • James Beard Foundation Award – Book Award: Cooking from a Professional Point of View, 2009[42]
  • James Beard Foundation Award – Outstanding Service Award, 2010,[43] 2016[44]
  • James Beard Foundation Awards – Outstanding Restaurant, 2016
  • Top Service Award (Chicago), Zagat Survey, 2006
  • Zagat Guide "Excellent" Rating, 2008
  • 3 Michelin Stars, 2011[45]
  • 3 Michelin Stars, 2013[46]
  • 3 Michelin Stars, 2014
  • 3 Michelin Stars, 2015
  • 3 Michelin Stars, 2016
  • 3 Michelin Stars, 2017
  • The 2011 Time 100[47]
  • Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in The World- The list. #1, 2011
  • Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in The World- The list. #1, 2012
  • Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in The World- The list. #1, 2013
  • Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in The World- The list. #1, 2014
  • Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in The World- The list. #1, 2015
  • Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in The World- The list. #1, 2016
  • Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in The World- The list. #2, 2017
  • Elite Traveler Top 100 Restaurants in The World- The list. #1, 2018

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Achatz, Grant". Current Biography Yearbook 2011. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2011. pp. 8–12. ISBN 9780824211219. 
  2. ^ Shriver, Jerry (June 9, 2008). "Chef Grant Achatz Wins Top James Beard Award". USA TODAY. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Dad's the pie man Father of acclaimed chef Grant Achatz has his own culinary claim to fame". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  4. ^ Small, Rachel (2013-10-25). "Grant Achatz Cooks Up Emotion". Interview Magazine. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  5. ^ Shriver, Jerry (2003-12-29). "Trio Triumphs Among Best Meals". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  6. ^ Rosner, Helen (October 1, 2009). "Alinea's Temporary Austrian Offshoot". GrubStreet.com. 
  7. ^ "Chicago 2011 Starred Restaurants". Archived from the original on 2011-09-25. 
  8. ^ "Chicago 2012 Starred Restaurants". 
  9. ^ Moskin, Julia (2011-02-15). "The Perfect Menu. Now Change It". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Wells, Pete (May 5, 2010). "In Chicago, the Chef Grant Achatz Is Selling Tickets to His New Restaurant". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ Mulcahy, James (2011-04-07). "Zagat Buzz Blog: $3,000 Black Market Tickets for Grant Achatz's Next Available on Craigslist, April 7, 2011". Zagat.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  12. ^ "Next at elBulli". Archived from the original on 2012-02-19. 
  13. ^ McKeever, Amy. "Next Reveals 2013 Menus". Eater.com. eater.com. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Levin, Rachel (2008-10-20). "Alinea". Cookbook Review. The Food Paper. Retrieved 2008-10-24.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  15. ^ Wells, Pete (June 25, 2009). " "Gotham Books Buys "Life, On the Line"". NYTimes.com. [permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Forbes, Paula. "First Look: Next's Tour of Thailand Digital Cookbook". Eater.com. eater.com. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  17. ^ Gray, Joe (2007-07-24). "Cancer strikes top chef in his prime". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original (– https://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3AVettel+intitle%3ACancer+strikes+top+chef+in+his+prime&as_publication=&as_ylo=2007&as_yhi=2007&btnG=Search Scholar search]) on September 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  18. ^ Landau, Elizabeth (March 3, 2010). "How a top chef lost, regained his taste". CNN.com. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, Life, On the Line, Penguin Group, 2012 p. 280
  20. ^ Abdelnour, Salma (2002). "America's Best New Chefs 2002". Food & Wine Magazine. American Express Publishing. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  21. ^ Richard L. Johnson (2006-09-26). "America's Top 50 Restaurants". Hotel-online.com. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  22. ^ Pollack, Penny. "Top 40 Chicago Restaurants Ever". Chicago Magazine (May 2010). Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Anguilla" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  24. ^ "Anguilla" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  25. ^ "AAA/CAA 2009 Five Diamond Restaurants" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  26. ^ "AAA/CAA 2010 Five Diamond Restaurants" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  27. ^ "Anguilla" (PDF). USA Today. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  28. ^ Piraux, Alain (2006-11-09). "Mobil Travel Guide Announces the 2007 Mobil Awards". Hotelexecutive.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-09. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
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  30. ^ "Microsoft Word - 08 STAR ANNOUNCEMENT PRESS RELEASE - FINAL.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  31. ^ Richard L. Johnson (2009-01-22). "The 2009 Mobil Five-Stars Awarded to 44 Hotels; 20 Restaurants". Hotel-online.com. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  32. ^ "Forbes Travel Guide, Formerly Mobil Travel Guide, Announces 52nd Annual List Of Four- And Five-Star Award Winners" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  33. ^ "Forbes Travel Guide, Formerly Mobil Travel Guide: 5-Star Restaurants". Forbestravelguide.com. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  34. ^ a b "Best Restaurant Awards 2007 | The World's 50 Best Restaurants". Theworlds50best.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  35. ^ "2008 Best Restaurant Award Winners | The World's 50 Best Restaurants". Theworlds50best.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  36. ^ "2009 Award Winners | The World's 50 Best Restaurants". Theworlds50best.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  37. ^ a b "2010 Award Winners | The World's 50 Best Restaurants". Theworlds50best.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-24. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  38. ^ a b S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants Archived February 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. 2011
  39. ^ "2007 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION RESTAURANT and CHEF AWARDS". Jamesbeard.starchefs.com. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  40. ^ "James Beard Foundation Awards Winners 2008". Jbfawards.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  41. ^ http://www.jbfawards.com/2008/files/JBFAwardWinners2008.pdf[permanent dead link]
  42. ^ "2009 James Beard Foundation Award Winners Announced" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 20, 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  43. ^ "2010 James Beard Foundation Award Winners" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-11-01. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  44. ^ "2010 James Beard Foundation Award Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  45. ^ "Chicago Restaurants, 2011". Michelin Guide. Archived from the original on 2011-09-25. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  46. ^ "Chicago Restaurants, 2012". Michelin Guide. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  47. ^ "Time 100: Grant Achatz". Time.com. 2011-04-04. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 

External links[edit]