interviews

The Guy Behind The Alinea and Next Videos

Seijun Suzuki by way of Jim Jarmusch in the Next Kyoto video.

Seijun Suzuki by way of Jim Jarmusch in the Next Kyoto video.Photo: courtesy Next

There are many positions people have moved to from pastry chef, but what's weird is that we can now name at least two who used it to jump into making movies. We wrote about James MacMillan a while back and it turns out that Christian Seel, the resident moviemaker at Alinea/The Aviary/Next, also got his start with the company doing pastry, which led to photographing things in-house, which led to making the movies which have been such a big part of Next's mystique in particular. Paul Leddy, who does the video series "Behind the Stick" for Chicagoist, talks to Seel to find out more about how video became such a part of the restaurants' brands; we especially liked this description of how things work in Achatz-Land:

I have enormous creative control and that is due to the generosity of my employers. One thing I really like about this company is that, in my experience, if you take ownership of something, you will be given it. What I came to realize was that the people that are successful took it upon themselves.

If you're a young chef dreaming of working at Alinea some day (or owning the next one), it's hard to improve on that as advice about how to make it happen. [Chicagoist]

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