Wednesday, Jan. 05, 2011

Grant Achatz Channeling Escoffier

O.K., this isn't really a prediction, but it will be a historic moment, and I want to be there for it. The country's greatest 21st century chef, Grant Achatz, is opening a new restaurant, called Next, where for the first three months he will re-create the cuisine of France's greatest 19th century chef. This Chicago showpiece speaks to the divergence I mentioned above of modernist cookery from the classics. It used to be that you had to choose between soufflés on one side and spheroids on the other; to see old-timey ends made with avant-garde means is something I desperately want to experience. It might even be a vindication of modern technique. After all, Escoffier's dishes are ridiculously complicated, and in that respect, he was way ahead of his time.