Grant Achatz is the chef and co-owner of Alinea, NEXT and the Aviary in Chicago, IL.
Since 2007 Alinea has been on Restaurant Magazine/San Pellegrino’s 50 Best list, twice being named the Best Restaurant in North America. In 2013 Restaurant Magazine bestowed the coveted Chef’s Choice Award on Achatz. In spring of 2011, Chef Achatz was named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The James Beard Foundation awarded him Outstanding Chef of the Year 2008 and Gourmet Magazine named his restaurant the Best Restaurant in America in 2006. In 2010 2011, and 2012, Alinea was awarded 3 stars in the Michelin guide.
Grant was born in St. Clair, Michigan in 1974. After high school, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, graduating in 1994.
In the early years of his career he worked in a handful of professional kitchens, eventually ending up at The French Laundry in Napa Valley, California with Chef Thomas Keller. Over a four-year period, Grant moved up through The French Laundry’s kitchen to the role of Keller’s sous chef. During this time, he also took a one-year hiatus from the kitchen to work as an assistant winemaker at La Jota Vineyards.
In 2001, Grant left The French Laundry, to take the role of executive chef at Trio, a four-star restaurant in Evanston, IL. It was here that Grant began receiving attention and major awards including Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs 2002, and the James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2003.
In 2004, Grant left Trio to start planning for his own restaurant with his new business partner, Nick Kokonas. One year later, they opened Alinea in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Alinea was a critical success from the beginning, earning top-ratings and awards on a local and national scale.
In collaboration with Crucial Detail design studio, Lara Kastner Photography and Kokonas, Achatz released the self-published cookbook, Alinea, in 2008. Achatz and Kokonas co-authored “Life on the Line”, the memoir about chef Achatz’ journey in restaurant business and his battle with stage four tongue cancer.
In the Spring of 2011 Achatz and Kokonas opened Next Restaurant and Aviary cocktail lounge in Chicago’s meatpacking district. Next changes its menu quarterly to reflect a specific geographic location and point in history. Aviary, seeks to re-define cocktails through progressive techniques and unique service ware.