Windy City Chefs

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In last Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune, there was a wonderful article about one of Chicago’s (and the world’s) greatest chefs – Grant Achatz of Alinea restaurant.  He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, worked for another great chef of the world, Thomas Keller of The French Laundry in the Napa Valley, and has now earned 3 Michelin stars for Alinea.  Chef Achatz has a book due for release on March 3rd called “Life on the Line,” which I cannot wait to read, and watch for a review here in the future.  It’s even being adapted into a feature film, possibly starring Leonardo Di Caprio, or Robert Downey, Jr., although I think Ethan Hawke looks more like him!  We here in Chicago are so happy to have Alinea and Chef Achatz in our great city.

Reading the article stirred my memory of this book in my library about other great chefs in Chicago.  This book from 1985  is based on the PBS series about great chefs around the country, including  the other cities of  New Orleans and  San Francisco.  The program was an instructional cooking class that allowed viewers to work through the preparation and steps of a dish.  There was a wealth of knowledge to be learned from the shows, not just about cooking skills, but it brought to life the personalities of the chefs.  It also showcased each chef and his restaurant, including Jean Banchet of Les Francais, Pierre Pollin of Le Titi De Paris ( I took cooking classes there from Pierre!), Michael Foley of Printer’s Row, Thierry Lefeuvre of Froggy’s, and Carolyn Buster of The Cottage, to name a few.  Not all of the places and chefs in the program are still around, but it’s a wonderful cookbook to read and try some amazing recipes.  One of these days I hope to dine at Alinea, but it may be awhile before reservations are even possible.  In the meantime, I’ll have to make the famous raspberry cake from The Cottage.  I can handle that!

3 Responses to Windy City Chefs

  1. February 21, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    We have a friend–John Asbaty that worked for Chef Achatz at both Trio in Evanston and Alinea and he now is part owner of Panozzo’s Italian Market, 1303 S. Michigan, Chicago. In addition to great sandwiches, wonderful old world Italian cheeses, meats, homemade sauces, etc. IF you are ever in the South Loop in Chicago try it out.

    Never have eaten at Alinea–I have been told it’s an experience you will never forget–for not only the wonderful blending and layering of the food flavors, but for the cost. But I think it’s worth it for a life-remembering culinary experience.

  2. February 21, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    Dining at Alinea is on my “bucket list,” and I, too, am anxiously awaiting the release of Grant Achatz’s book. Have you heard about his new restaurant concept. Apparently, it’s opening later in the spring and will completely change (menu, decor, everything) every 3 months.

    I remember the Great Chefs series. It was wonderful, but also envy-enducing to read about those far away restaurants.

  3. March 16, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Hey Barb and MsZin – We should make a trek together to Alinea! Barb- thanks for the info about Panozzo’s. I will make it a point to visit it sometime. I bet your friend John has lots of interesting stories about Trio and Alinea!

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