From the You Knew This Was Coming Desk at Grub Street Chicago: Next's ticketing system was conceived as the answer to certain problems at Alinea, such as the house having to eat the cost of fancy ingredients when a table cancelled at the last minute. So it's no surprise that Grant Achatz is now talking about bringing a similar ticketing system to Alinea. In a Huffington Post piece, he gives the same rationale for the move as he did when Next was launching: "What people don't realize is that profit margins at restaurants are extremely small -- between 5 and 15 percent, overall. Let's say you have a reservation for a four-top... And at the last minute, one person gets sick... There goes your entire profit for that table." It's not certain when ticketing will start, but he says it won't be earlier than June.
On an entirely more charming note, the Wall Street Journal has a lifestyle piece that asks Achatz about how he cooks at home and teaching his boys to cook. On kitchen equipment, he says: "When I look at my little espresso machine, I don't see coffee. I see a steaming valve as an opportunity to make amazing crème brûlée." On teaching his sons kitchen techniques: "For my sons, we have a collection of Zyliss plastic knives and they're the greatest thing ever: sharp enough that the boys are contributing to the prep, but there's no way they're going to cut themselves." [Wall Street Journal]