Grant Achatz to Introduce Southern Molecular Gastronomy to Raleigh


Photo courtesy of Alinea

In perhaps the biggest culinary news ever to hit North Carolina, Grant Achatz, the internationally acclaimed chef of Chicago’s Alinea, announced today that he will be opening a new restaurant in Raleigh this summer.  The new establishment, tentatively called “Dixie 41,” will be located downtown in the former Riviera location.  “I’ve always enjoyed cooking with a Southern sensibility,” Achatz stated in a press release, “and I thought that combining the contemporary culinary techniques from Alinea with Southern traditions was a perfect match.”

Achatz described a couple of dishes he was toying with, including one with country-fried tobacco-infused buttermilk orbs.  “It’s a dish that’s truly representative of the South.”  Achatz has also created two new dishes he calls “Hot Sweet Potato Cold Sweet Potato” and “Barbecue Explosion.”  “I based those two on dishes that have become classics at Alinea, but these are highly refined variations.  The Barbecue Explosion is an orb of lard, filled with vinegar foam and a smoked pork emulsion, coated with pork rind flakes.  I expect it will be a big hit.”

Achatz will be teaming up with Greg Hatem’s Empire Eats to create 41 Dixie, with the restaurant going into a vacant Empire property.  “I’ve done burgers, barbecue, Asian and Lebanese,” Hatem stated, “So it was a logical progression to do something a bit more exotic.  Grant had to twist my arm a bit, but when he told me about his version of the Waffle House’s Scattered, Smothered and Covered, served on a pillow filled with country ham air, I was all in.”

John T. Edge, Director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, stated, “It was only a matter of time before someone with the epicurean intellect of an Achatz decided to create a Southern movement of molecular gastronomy.  We’re damn tired of everyone thinking Southern food has to be heavy and simple.  It’s just fine for Southern food to be odd and precious, too.”

Achatz had originally hoped that the restaurant would have been ready for opening today, but that date was unrealistic.  “An opening on April 1 would have been best, but we needed to stop fooling ourselves and take our time to get it right.”


14 Responses to Grant Achatz to Introduce Southern Molecular Gastronomy to Raleigh

  1. VaNC says:

    April Fools

  2. susan says:

    Nice one!

  3. Alan says:

    I hate April Fools day.

  4. georg says:

    I want a pillow filled with country ham air!

  5. burgeoningfoodie says:

    Wasn’t sure given the premise if the change in the restaurant name was intentional or not.

  6. Varmint says:

    Yes, it was intentional, to give added emphasis to the “41” — (41, 4/1, April 1). Although anyone who noticed the name change figured out the gag much sooner.

  7. Debbie Moose says:

    Varmint, you sure blew a little “country ham air” into my day.

  8. Arthurb3! says:

    Varmit!! Evil, evil, evil!!!

  9. who says:

    seriously. can you imagine the discussions then? “that ain’t food!… don’t even look laak food!”

  10. foodguy says:

    damit, i totally fell for this for a few minutes. (sigh)

  11. Anonymous says:

    I was all prepared to write a post saying dixie 41 what a name until I came upon 41 dixie and the light bulb came on. Thanks for the chuckle. What does it say that this was totally believable?

  12. Michael says:

    Damn, that is not nice!! I was ready to go wait in line for a reservation!!! We can only dream!

  13. Christian says:

    Ya know, it sounded WAAAYY to good to be true, but I’ll admit you had me for a minute there!

  14. Maura says:

    Yikes. That was just not nice. 🙂 I was ready to start a picket line.

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