Curtis Duffy’s Grace in Chicago has earned, in two months of being open, national acclaim as one of America’s most ambitious restaurants, Duffy’s eyes set on every prize to be had. What few have known, and only rarely came out in the press about Duffy, was that his ambition and drive as a chef — which led him from a Colorado country club to Charlie Trotter’s, Alinea, and two Michelin stars at Avenues before opening his own restaurant — was rooted in a troubled childhood, which climaxed horrifically with the murder-suicide of his parents in 1994, when Duffy was 19.
The Chicago Tribune, with the resources that only the few remaining media superpowers can devote to a story, let writer Kevin Pang tail Duffy through most of the past year as Grace was under development (not that he’s the only one who did something like that). And he finally tells the whole story in a lavish multimedia presentation, complete with police audio clips and news reports from the night of his parents’ death. The multimedia frills are slick — Pang is also working on a feature documentary about Duffy — but really, the words are enough to tell the genuinely affecting story of a kid saved from a bleak upbringing by the awakening of his talent, and a master chef who has arrived at one climactic point, at least, of his ambitions.
His Saving Grace [Tribune]