Menu Development

Your Guide to Grant Achatz’s Next ‘Next’ Menus

Achatz and Beran through the looking glass.
Achatz and Beran through the looking glass. Photo: courtesy of Facebook

Prepare to enter a magical world of childlike wonder. No, Disney didn’t announce some horrible themed restaurant on the Mag Mile. Instead, Grant Achatz just revealed to Time Out the next three menus planned for Next, and the first one is kind of astonishing. Rather than traveling to the ritzy world of early twentieth century Paris, he and executive chef Dave Beran will transport us all back to our formative years with a menu that recalls “the emotions, the nostalgia, the memories you have when you’re forming your flavor fingerprint in life.” Yep, Next is planning a menu based on childhood.

If that weren’t enough, Achatz explained to Time Out that the menu was originally going to be based on Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, which nearly caused our brains to explode. Unfortunately, getting the permission from Harper Collins and Silverstein’s estate turned into a “complete shitshow,” so the idea evolved into this one. Still, we really love where this is going.

What kind of food should you expect? Well, it’s hard to say for sure, but Achatz was clear about what you won’t see: “It’s important that we’re not serving corndogs and lollipops,” he said. He further elaborated that it will be “highly refined food that emulates or evokes” the emotions of being young. Look for the crew to “implement childhood” on October 15. Just writing this down makes us happy.

But that’s not all! Achatz also revealed that the sojourn into childhood will be followed by a menu based on Kyoto in the spring. This Japanese project is one that he has hinted at in a few interviews. That will be followed by Sicily, which was first mentioned as a possibility in the very first YouTube video for Next. He’s actually leaving for the Sicily in two weeks to do further research.

Oh, and what about the rumored El Bulli menu? At that restaurant’s last service, Achatz explained the premise to Ferran Adria in person. Adria was apparently “excited” about the idea, though no concrete details have been worked out. Achatz said that it was “very important that he comes in on it so we’re going to make that happen.”

Whew. That’s probably enough exciting Next news for the day.

Grant Achatz talks what’s next for Next [Time Out Chicago]

Your Guide to Grant Achatz’s Next ‘Next’ Menus