The Chicago Tribune confirms that, as that mysterious video from earlier this week hinted, Grant Achatz is coming to New York! And Daniel Humm is going to Chicago! “The 21st Century Limited” makes sense now!
Starting September 27th, for five nights, Eleven Madison Park’s menu will be served at Alinea’s restaurant in Chicago, while Alinea’s will be served at Eleven Madison Park. Humm and Achatz have been planning this collaboration for years, they tell the Tribune, and like all great collaborations, the deal came together one night while everyone was drunk:
It was after hours in the lounge, with everyone full on pizza and wine. Achatz recalled the night: “Daniel said, ‘Why don’t we take this a step further? You come to New York, we come to Chicago.’ It was a handshake deal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gonna hurt. It’s a tremendous amount of work. But we don’t want to be the rock band that plays the same song over and over. There are very few people in any given industry that have the opportunity to have that carte blanche.”
It’s not going to be as simple as packing up a restaurant and shipping their chefs in boxes, however: Humm and Achatz have three days to train the staffs at each other’s restaurants how to cook and serve their dishes, and they revealed that they’re losing money on the venture (airfare, silverware, food costs, and training people be pricey). Hard to believe when tickets will cost $495 per person for the experience, but as Will Guidara from EMP explained, “people sometimes don’t understand why we’re doing this when there isn’t an economic benefit. Sometimes we do what we do because we love doing it.”
[Chicago Tribune h/t Eater]
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