Grant Achatz's new adventure: Next Restaurant

By Marcus Samuelsson

I'm always impressed when a chef pushes their boundaries.  It's not enough to be comfortable and complacent where you are, if thing's are working, and things are good, then look to what's next.  And especially, when things are bad, it can be inspirational to think about the light at the end of the tunnel.  That's exactly what Grant Achatz, chef of Alinea did, when diagnosed with oral cancer in 2007.

He and his business partner, Nick Kokonas, devised a plan for a new restaurant based, where the menu and entire concept change every three months.  Now, Achatz has healed, and he and Kokonas are prepared to open Next, which will first transport diners to France in the early 20th century.  It won't stay there for long - you could eventually dine and Next and get a taste of the Hong Kong of the future, or the exact day that Achatz started working at the French Laundry.

The first salvo of the restaurant is based on Paris in 1906.  Don't be dismayed about eating a meal based on that time, it was the golden era of Parisian cuisine.  Escoffier's "Le Guide Culinaire" was first published in 1903, a cookbook that revolutionized French cooking, but whose legacy has "barely been tasted in living memory."

I'm really excited to see how Next turns out.  It should be a delicious and inspiring adventure.  Best of luck to Mr. Achatz.  I'm sure it will be a thrilling ride. Read more here.