Grant Achatz to open Michelin-starred Alinea pop-up in Madrid

Chef Grant Achatz hinted at embarking on a culinary world tour and breaking the notion of static brick and mortar restaurants.
Chef Grant Achatz hinted at embarking on a culinary world tour and breaking the notion of static brick and mortar restaurants.

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MADRID, Sept 29 — Grant Achatz has become the latest top chef to embark on a culinary world tour, with plans to take his triple Michelin-starred restaurant Alinea to the foodie elite in Madrid.

The move is scheduled to take place next January and will involve flying out his entire team to the Spanish capital for a temporary pop-up.

For now, details are sparse. Achatz will close Alinea in January 2016, and open a pop-up restaurant for five weeks.

The menu and concept have yet to be divulged.

It’s the latest pop-up announcement to shake the fine dining world and signal a shift in the traditional paradigm of restaurant dining — that is, restaurants that live at fixed addresses.

As early as last year, Achatz hinted at embarking on a culinary world tour and breaking the notion of static brick and mortar restaurants.

Achatz could also be credited with pioneering the idea, after pulling off a similar stunt back in 2012, when he swapped kitchens with Eleven Madison Park in New York.

Since then, other big-name chefs with big budgets have done the same.

Instead of taking a break while renovating his flagship restaurant The Fat Duck in Bray, Heston Blumenthal, for instance, flew his staff out to Melbourne where they recreated the Michelin-starred restaurant for diners halfway around the world.

The move also paved the way for the opening of his Aussie outpost of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Crown Melbourne hotel, scheduled for next month.

Likewise, Danish chef René Redzepi performed a major transplant operation when he opened a local, pop-up version of his Copenhagen restaurant Noma at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo earlier this year.

Recently, Redzepi announced that he’ll be shuttering the restaurant that has snagged the title of World’s Best Restaurant four times, to re-open as a “farm-to-table” eatery.

One of chef Grant Achatz's offerings at Alinea, made from corn, white chocolate, honey and mango. — AFP pix
One of chef Grant Achatz's offerings at Alinea, made from corn, white chocolate, honey and mango. — AFP pix

The chef who popularised the notion of New Nordic cuisine will also embark on his second world tour next summer with the opening of a pop-up restaurant in Sydney for 10 weeks.

In the meantime, while Achatz cooks in Madrid next year, the shuttered Alinea restaurant is set to undergo a major transformation.

In an interview with Fine Dining Lovers earlier this spring, Achatz dropped hints on his vision for the new Alinea, which could include everything from complementary scents, music, light projections as well as mobile dining, where guests move from one room to another to proceed to the next course.

“We don’t want to become a museum of ourselves,” he said in the interview. “The guiding philosophy of this restaurant since day one has been ‘keep it going.’”

More details on the Alinea pop-up in Madrid will be released October 13. — AFP-Relaxnews

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