Daniel Humm, the chef at Eleven Madison Park (and The NoMad) in New York, and Grant Achatz, the chef of Alinea (and Next) in Chicago are both known for pushing culinary boundaries. Humm, who received four stars from the New York Times for Eleven Madison Park, recently made headlines for planning to throw out their successful formula and switch things up. Achatz, in his own right, doesn't really have a formula, and is constantly innovating his food and ways of service (not to mention innovating beyond the food by selling tickets instead of taking reservations at both his restaurants and changing the menu entirely every three months at Next).
For Humm and Achatz's next trick, they are trading places for five days, the New York Times reports. Humm will be cooking Eleven Madison Park's food at Alinea in Chicago and Achatz will be cooking Alinea's food at Eleven Madison Park in New York. If that sounds a bit like "Freaky Friday," you're not totally far off. Starting September 26, eager diners can pay $495 (plus tax and 20 percent service charge) to eat much-heralded food typically not available outside of New York or Chicago, respectively.
The collaboration is being called "21st Century Limited," explains the Chicago Tribune. It references a luxury train that used to travel between Chicago and New York called the 20th Century Limited.
So is the cost worth it? We were just about to do the calculations ourselves but then realized that intrepid Price Hiker Ryan Sutton probably already did (we were right). He figures that after tax and service charge, you're paying $647 per person, which is more than you'd spend at Alinea (tasting menu ranges from $185 to $265). Eleven Madison Park's current tasting menu is $195. So unless you find a cheap airfare and have a free place to stay, the $495+ could theoretically be a good deal -- if you're into fine dining, that is.
Here's the teaser video they put out on Friday: