Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alinea's Achatz Vows To Battle Ailment

As reported by Pete Wells in The New York Times' Diners Journal and others: Grant Achatz, the 33-year-old chef of the award-winning Alinea in Chicago, released this statement July 23 through his publicist: “I wanted to personally report that I have been very recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth. I have consulted several prominent physicians and will likely begin aggressive treatment within the next few weeks. I remain, and will remain, actively and optimistically engaged in operations at Alinea to the largest extent possible. Alinea will continue to perform at the level people have come to expect from us — I insist on that. I have received amazing support from friends, family, and everyone who has thus far been told of the disease, and I look forward to a full, cancer-free, recovery.” Writes Wells, "I traded instant messages with Mr. Achatz a few minutes ago. He said that his dentist had noticed a “dot” on his tongue back in 2004 but a biopsy came back negative. Then around a month ago, his tongue began to hurt pretty seriously, and he went back for a biopsy. This time it was positive. His energy level is high, he said, but because eating is painful he has lost about 12 pounds in the past two weeks. While he weighs his treatment options, he said he was “trying to work as much as possible,” and has already started planning his fall menu. He said his staff had responded to the news “amazingly, as I expected them to.” Mr. Achatz sometimes gives the impression that he is either working or thinking about work all the time. Now his staff is getting accustomed to receiving some of those thoughts on e-mail and instant messages tapped out in the waiting room of his doctors’ offices."

IN THE NEWS: Grist magazine's list of the world's top 15 eco-conscious chefs includes: Alice Waters, Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Calif; Dan Barber, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; Chris Cosentino, Incanto, San Francisco; Andrea Reusing, Lantern, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Ted Walter, Passion Fish, Pacific Grove, Calif.; David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, Calif; and Peter Hoffman, Savoy, New York, N.Y. Runners-up include Frank Stitt, Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Ala; and Christine Kim, Green Zebra, Chicago. grist.org ... Chicago magazine's Dish column reports: Set to open in three weeks, Ai Sushi Lounge (358 W. Ontario St.) is the third brain child of Agnes Yoshikawa and Eugene Chua, the brother-and-sister team who own Tsuki (1441 W. Fullerton Ave.) and Ringo (2507 N. Lincoln Ave.). ... Dan Sachs of Bin 36 Sachs will unveil A Mano directly below Bin 36 at 335 North Dearborn Street in September. ... Hometown classic Harry Caray’s (see www.harrycarays.com for all locations) will be expanding to Lombard in August with two new restaurants, an Italian steak house and a seafood restaurant, both in the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. ... Blair and Shirley Makinney of Beverly’s Pantry (1907 W. 103rd St.) are opening next door CafĂ© 103 (1909 W. 103rd St.), a fine-dining spot and natural extension of their gourmet retail store where they were already running sit-down dinners for private parties. chicagomag.com ... Blogger Tablehopper.com raves about a visit to Avec (615 West Randolph St.). ... The Sun-Times' Pat Bruno awards two stars to the chain J. Alexander's (4077 Lake Cook Northbrook). ... Sandy Thorn Clark profiles Doug Zell, owner of the 12-year-old coffee company Intelligentsia, which has grown from a no-name to a company with 110 employees and a 25,000-square-foot warehouse at 1850 W. Fulton that produces more than 1.25 million pounds of freshly roasted coffee a year. There also are three retail stores (3123 N. Broadway, 53 E. Randolph and 53 W. Jackson), and more than 700 wholesale customers. In addition, Intelligentsia recently opened a store and roasting facility in Los Angeles. Among the wholesale customers are some of Chicago's finest chefs -- Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, Charlie Trotter of Charlie Trotter's, Grant Achatz of Alinea, Paul Kahan of Blackbird, Shawn McClain of Custom House, and Michael Shrader of N9Ne Steak House -- who hand-select beans to customize specialty brews for the discriminating tastes of their patrons. suntimes.com ...

The Trib's Phil Vettel awards one star (good) to Alhambra Palace (1240 W. Randolph St.) and two stars (very good) to Room 21 (2110 S. Wabash Ave.), while Cheap Eats visits Smitty's on the Corner (15 E. Main St., St. Charles). ... Terry Armour visits Martini Park (51 W. Erie St.; www.martinipark.com). chicagotribune.com ... The Reader reviews new luxe lounges La Pomme Rouge (108 W. Kinzie), Chaise Lounge (1840 W. North) and Vice (840 W. Randolph). chicagoreader.com ... TimeOut Chicago reviews Mexx Kitchen at The Whiskey (1015 N Rush St) and Trattoria 225 (225 Harrison St, Oak Park). Noted openings include Oprah chef Art Smith's Table Fifty-Two (52 W Elm St), chef John Hogan's Tavern at the Park (130 E Randolph St), Crimson Lounge (329 N Dearborn St), and Tamalii (2459 W Armitage Ave). timeout.com/chicago ... Bloggers ChicagoBites.com rave about their visit to Moto (945 West Fulton Market St.). ... Menu Pages notes, "From the bowels of Hell, a.k.a. Bubba Gump Shrimp, issues forth a new Italian restaurant on Navy Pier called Capi's Italian Kitchen. ..." blogs.menupages.com/menupages.com ... Chicagoist.com stops by Winston’s Market (3440 N. Southport Ave.). ... ChicagoBurgerProject.blogspot.com visits David Burke's Primehouse (616 N. Rush St.) ... USA Today features the new movement of top-flight, celebrity chef-driven steakhouses, including Chicago's Tramonto's Steak & Seafood (Westin Chicago North Shore hotel, 601 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling), Las Vegas' StripSteak (Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.), Los Angeles' Cut (Beverly Wilshire hotel, 9500 Wilshire Blvd.), Kansas City's Plaza III Steakhouse (4749 Pennsylvania Ave.), and New York City's Craftsteak (85 10th Ave.). usatoday.com ... Crain's Chicago Business reviews Marche (833 W. Randolph St.), Custom House (500 S. Dearborn St.), Hop Haus (646 N. Franklin St.), Monk's Pub (205 W. Lake St.), and chicagobusiness.com ... Chef Jimmy Bannos of Heaven on Seven has been chosen by the American Culinary Federation Chicago Chefs of Cuisine Association as their second inductee into the Chicago Chefs of Cuisine Culinary Hall of Fame and Museum. Last year's inaugural inductee was Chef Charlie Trotter.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

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