Tuesday, September 16 4:45PM—5:30PMNew Tools of Gastronomy: Service Ware, Re-Imagined Main Stage Presentation
BiographyChef Grant Achatz is one of the leading visionaries of modern cuisine. His humble roots in his family’s Michigan restaurant instilled in him a love of the kitchen, but could not portend the extent to which he would excel at, and even revolutionize, the craft. Today Achatz’s Chicago restaurant, Alinea, is widely recognized as one of the best in the world, and as the home of American avant garde fine dining.
Achatz was working as a cook by the age of 12, learning the basics and developing the skills that would set the foundation for his career. He enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY immediately after high school, and after graduation worked with Chef Steve Stallard in Michigan and briefly for Charlie Trotter in Chicago. His next move was to The French Laundry in the Napa Valley, where he spent a sum total of four years working with and learning from his mentor, Thomas Keller. Between stints at TFL, Achatz spent a year working as an assistant winemaker at La Jota Vineyards in California.
In 2001 he left his sous chef position at TFL to become executive chef of Trio in Evanston, Illinois. Achatz flourished at Trio, garnering accolades for his inventive menu structure, service pieces, and flavor combination. While at Trio he was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” (2002), and “Rising Star Chef in America” by the James Beard Foundation (2003).
The Alinea opening in May 2005 was one of the most anticipated and hyped in recent American restaurant history; Frank Bruni of The New York Times dined there opening night, and it was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Best New Restaurant in America that same year. Alinea was declared the “Best Restaurant in America” by Gourmet magazine’s twice-per-decade list in 2006, and has received 5 stars from the Mobil Travel Guide from 2006-2008, as well as 5 diamonds from AAA. In 2007 Alinea joined Restaurant Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants,” and Achatz was named “Best Chef Great Lakes” by the James Beard Foundation. This year the restaurant received an IVY award from Restaurants & Institutions magazine, and Achatz was named the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef in America.”
Hot Potato/Cold Potato, Black Truffle, Parmesan
Chef Grant Achatz of Alinea – Chicago, IL
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Yield: 8 Servings
• 100 grams Yukon Gold potatoes
• 225 grams black truffle juice
• 500 grams heavy cream
• 25 grams white truffle oil
• 5 grams kosher salt
• 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed but unpeeled
• 450 grams clarified butter
To Assemble and Serve:
• Small paraffin bowls, stainless steel pins
• 30 grams Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, cut into 3 millimeter chunks
• 30 grams unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 3 millimeter cubes
• 3 chives, cut on the bias into 1.3 centimeter (½-inch) lengths
• 2 black truffles, very thinly sliced
• Sea salt
For the Potato Soup:
Peel potatoes and cut into 1.3 cm (½-inch) dice. Bring potatoes and truffle juice to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add heavy cream and return to a simmer. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth. Drizzle in truffle oil in a thin, steady stream while blending. Add salt and blend briefly. Strain soup through chinois and chill for at least 8 hours. Keep cold until needed.
For the Potato Balls:
Scoop out balls of potato using 1.3 cm (½ -inch) Parisienne scoop. Combine clarified butter and potato balls in small saucepan and cook over medium heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Butter will bubble, but balls will not brown. Remove from heat and set aside until needed.
To Assemble and Serve:
Pierce paraffin bowls with stainless-steel pin. Slide onto each pin a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano, a butter cube, and a piece of chive, allowing about 6 millimeters (¼-inch) between each garnish. Fill paraffin bowls about halfway with potato soup. Refrigerate bowls and garnishes. Gently reheat potato balls in clarified butter. Remove soup-filled paraffin bowls from refrigerator. Slide a hot potato ball onto each pin and drape with a truffle slice. Garnish with a few crystals of sea salt.