With the Thai theme winding down at his restaurant Next, Grant Achatz will be building a new menu — as is the concept at his Chicago eatery — that will aim to revisit the flavors and foods linked to childhood. Every three months, Next switches gears completely and builds a new menu that visits culinary destinations — France and Thailand — or, in the case of Childhood, evokes different epicurean time periods.
In a YouTube video uploaded Tuesday (below), Achatz allows viewers to eavesdrop on a brainstorming meeting in which two experts — his sons Keller and Kaden — act as menu consultants.
The new menu sounds true to form. “Presents and candy and toys,” is one idea that’s bandied about, as is a holiday dish where ‘Christmas’ is served in a Santa hat. The video also shows hints of what’s to come, with chefs and mini-consultants sat around a table laden with old-school lunch boxes, like Return of the Jedi, and Alice in Wonderland.
Chef Dave Beran also hints in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that while flavors will be familiar childhood favorites like chicken noodle soup and sweet potato pie — which will look like a campfire stove– they will still be sophisticated enough for an adult’s palate.
The Childhood menu at Next begins October 22.