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Dishes That Double as Special Effects

At 31, Chef Grant Achatz has already earned his stripes at top eateries. Now he's running his own restaurant.
Petra Mayer, NPR
At 31, Chef Grant Achatz has already earned his stripes at top eateries. Now he's running his own restaurant.

At a new restaurant in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, the cuisine reflects a fresh culinary trend. Chef Grant Achatz says he doesn't know quite how to label what Alinea does.

For instance, one entree reads: "Bison, beets, blueberries, burning cinnamon." Achatz, 31, describes another dish as a lobster-flavored Cheeto.

He says he wants to create entirely new tastes, and the restaurant reflects a complete aversion to being predictable or dull. The menu, decor and computer-programmed lighting are always changing. New kinds of utensils appear on tables.

Jennifer Ludden paid a visit, and came away thinking of Alinea's fare as "special effects food."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Jennifer Ludden helps edit energy and environment stories for NPR's National Desk, working with NPR staffers and a team of public radio reporters across the country. They track the shift to clean energy, state and federal policy moves, and how people and communities are coping with the mounting impacts of climate change.