Upon arriving in Chicago, on Thursday 21 January, 2009, we were a flurry of action, transforming our lovely host’s beautiful condo into a functioning kitchen and dining room. We were again blessed with a painful cold snap, which we used to our benefit by turning what was supposed to be a washer and dryer room into a walk-in freezer by opening the windows. Seems silly but this open and flat cold space was the key to being able to make this apartment a functional space to serve the meal.
After many trips to the supermarket, wine store, fish monger, butcher, cheese monger, Treasure Island and Alinea for vacuum packing, we had gotten ourselves in a good place and were ready to receive our guests for the evening. In a stroke of luck two of our guests for the evening happened to be amazing photographers and provided us some amazing shots of our prep, the dinner and the plating of the courses.
I will save my words for evaluating our success or failures for Friday and leave it to Kyle Ryan from the Onion to give you his opinion. For what he missed from his drunken notes in terms of accuracy he makes up for in delicious creativity and having a wife who is a brilliant photographer. As it was we finished the night with a strong sense of accomplishment behind us and a great desire to attack Saturday’s event with fervor. We would be serving not only a sous chef from Alinea who cooked at all of the dinners we were recreating but one of the co-authors of the Alinea cookbook, local food writer and attendee of the original Alinea meal. The pressure was on but sleep came easy for me at least before what would become an amazingly ridiculous day.