Grant Achatz – Biography

Born in Michigan in 1974, Grant Achatz grew up in the restaurant industry, literally, his parents and grandparents being restaurateurs. Naturally curious and always driven, he could be found in the kitchen by his twelfth birthday and over the coming years spent most of his free time there, learning the basics and developing the skills that would allow him to become one of the foremost innovators in the field. Early on he realized he wanted to be a chef, and upon graduating from high school immediately enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America.

Excelling at the C.I.A., Achatz graduated and ascended the culinary ladder at several prestigious restaurants, including the acclaimed French Laundry in the Napa Valley. Working closely with Thomas Keller, Achatz thrived in this highly creative and dedicated environment, and after two years became sous chef to Keller. After four years at The French Laundry, Achatz chose to broaden his knowledge and worked as an assistant winemaker at La Jota Vineyards. In 2001, he accepted the executive chef position at the four-star Trio (Evanston, IL).

Achatz flourished at Trio, garnering accolades including being named the “Rising Star Chef in America” by the James Beard Foundation in 2003 and one of ten “Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine in 2002. Under Achatz’s lead, Trio received four stars from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago magazine and garnered five stars from the celebrated Mobil Travel Guide in 2004. Known worldwide in culinary circles as one of the leaders in the forward-thinking movement, Achatz realized a lifelong dream by opening Alinea in Chicago in May 2005. The restaurant received extraordinary attention from day one, and was nominated by the James Beard Foundation as the Best New Restaurant in America that same year.

Under Chef Achatz’s leadership, Alinea has received worldwide attention for its hypermodern, emotional approach to dining. Alinea has received four stars from both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago magazine, Achatz was named the “next great American chef” by The New York Times (September 2005) and in October, 2006 Alinea received Five Diamonds from AAA and Ruth Reichl of Gourmet magazine declared Alinea the “Best Restaurant in America” in its twice-per-decade list of America’s Top 50 Restaurants. Chef Achatz has appeared on the Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, The Food Network, The Discovery Channel and PBS, and has been featured in dozens of periodicals around the US and from as far away as Sweden, Finland, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, the Philippines, and France.