Chef and Founder of Alinea, Next, The Aviary
Chef Grant Achatz doesn’t just cook, he creates experiences, and his scientific approach to food has made him known as one of the most innovative chefs in the world. He was named Best Chef in the United States by the James Beard Foundation, his restaurants have garnered multiple Michelin stars, and he is perpetually being given accolades from food magazines throughout the world. This is in no small part because of Achatz’ use of molecular gastronomy and the element of surprise in his dishes. In fact, he doesn’t even cook in a traditional kitchen; rather, he prefers to think of it as a laboratory.
How he continues to innovate and surprise:
Achatz’ most famous restaurant is Alinea, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Chicago that earned multiple James Beard Foundation Awards and a place on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, and is where he started his most important experimenting. The dining experience consisted of 20+ courses, most of which involved some shock and awe aspect intended to delight and surprise diners, like an edible green apple helium balloon and the famous black truffle explosion (ravioli filled with liquefied black truffle). But Achatz threw that all out the window last year when he completely gutted the restaurant’s interior and menu and started all over, this time with more restraint and less manipulation of the food, though still with an eye on combining food and science.