These popped up next to each other in our newsfeed, and so we feel there’s some nice symmetry in referring you to both of them together— after all, while we have no idea if Barry Sorkin has ever eaten at Alinea or Next, we definitely know that Grant Achatz brings in barbecue from Smoque to staff meal. First up, The Atlantic’s Cities subsite has a sharp interview with Sorkin, which really encapsulates his story of how doing Texas-style barbecue in an obscure neighborhood proved to be a great way to escape corporate life and have a line out the door. We especially liked this story about how a mentor found him:
Ina Pinkney [known as The Breakfast Queen] was probably our first customer. I’d never met her, never spoken to her, never been to her restaurant. We literally opened our doors and a grandmotherly looking figure walks in. She said, “Come over here and sit down” and starts giving me advice: You have to close on Monday. Here’s the name and number for the guy you’re going to use for ventilation. Here’s the guy who’s going to clean your grease trap. For whatever reason, she took me under her wing and decided to make me her project.
The second is a three-minute video interview with Grant Achatz from 5minMedia. It’s kind of Alinea 101, not a lot of surprises if you’re familiar with the restaurant, but it has some nice shots of the current dishes (and we really, really want to know how they make the square dots like that). You can watch it here.