The Aesthete Cooks isn’t the only foodie fascinated by historical cuisine. As Joel Stein explains in the 20 December 2010 issue of Time magazine, daredevil young chef Grant Achatz — whose career nearly derailed when he developed tongue cancer — is launching a new restaurant with a past-perfect attitude. Read the terrific article here.
As Time explains, Next, which will be located in Chicago, where Achatz already runs Alinea, “will have a different menu every three months, pegged to a particular place and time. He’s starting with Paris in 1906 and then moving on to such pairing as Sicily in 1949, Thailand in the future and so on.” My dream would be for Achatz to conjure a menu based on London in the 1920s, with inspired adaptations of the influential recipes of chef-restaurateur Marcel Boulestin.
Make reservations ASAP if you can because Next is sure to be the hottest ticket in the Windy City: It opens on 1 February 2011.
Grant Achatz’s memoir, Life, on the Line: A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat (Gotham Books) is being published in March 2011. Pre-order a copy from Amazon right now.
If you’re interested, the dish shown in the photograph is Achatz’s spirited take on a 1903 recipe by the great Auguste Escoffier (1846 — 1935): Suprêmes de Pigeonneaux à la Saint-Clair, or Breasts of Squab Saint Clair. Escoffier’s directions are printed below. His classic cookery book did not offer lists of ingredients or detailed instructions, so have fun. Whether you want to add a cooked bird claw as a panache, as Achatz does, is up to you. Squab can be ordered online from D’Artagnan; click here.
SUPREMES DE PIGEONNEAUX A LA SAINT-CLAIR
(Breasts of Squab Saint Clair)
SOURCE: Le Guide Culinaire by Auguste Escoffier (1903)
With the meat of the legs prepare a mousseline forcemeat, and, with the latter, make some quenelles the size of small olives, and set them to poach. Poële the breasts, without coloration, on a thick litter of sliced onions, and keep them underdone. Add a little velouté to the onions; rub them through a tammy, and put the quenelles in this sauce.
In the middle of a shallow croustade, set a pyramid of cèpes tossed in butter. Raise the fillets; skin them, and set them on the cèpes; coat them with the prepared sauce; surround with a thread of meat glaze, and place the quenelles all around.