When I found out Thomas Keller was coming to town to cook side-by-side with Grant Achatz, his most famous and successful protégé, I thought to myself: Must. Be. There. The two chefs had teamed up to do a series of events—one at Per Se in New York, one at Alinea, and a final stop at The French Laundry in California—each a three-hour, 20-course meal priced at $1,500 a head. I’m not even sure why I found the idea of this event so thrilling. Was it the outrageous price tag as we teeter on the brink of a depression? Was it the presence of Keller, perhaps America’s most...

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When I found out Thomas Keller was coming to town to cook side-by-side with Grant Achatz, his most famous and successful protégé, I thought to myself: Must. Be. There. The two chefs had teamed up to do a series of events—one at Per Se in New York, one at Alinea, and a final stop at The French Laundry in California—each a three-hour, 20-course meal priced at $1,500 a head. I’m not even sure why I found the idea of this event so thrilling. Was it the outrageous price tag as we teeter on the brink of a depression? Was it the presence of Keller, perhaps America’s most...

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Guest Blog: Keller in the House: Eavesdropping on the $1,500 Dinner
Coda

When I found out Thomas Keller was coming to town to cook side-by-side with Grant Achatz, his most famous and successful protégé, I thought to myself: Must. Be. There. The two chefs had teamed up to do a series of events—one at Per Se in New York, one at Alinea, and a final stop at The French Laundry in California—each a three-hour, 20-course meal priced at $1,500 a head. I’m not even sure why I found the idea of this event so thrilling. Was it the outrageous price tag as we teeter on the brink of a depression? Was it the presence of Keller, perhaps America’s most...

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Oprah Winfrey is said to be planning a Candlelight Ball for 1,000 glamorous guests as her inauguration-night fete in Washington, D.C., Chicago magazine’s Marcia Froelke Coburn reports. The talk-show host and Obama supporter has been entertaining bids from Washington-based caterers for the January 20th party at a venue yet to be determined. A spokeswoman for Winfrey said, “We have nothing to confirm at this point.” Read more

It's day three of post-election/pre-inauguration, and people are still flocking to the Tribune Tower like we're selling iPhones. We're not. The folks in the lobby are selling commemorative Chicago Tribune papers announcing Barack Obama's win, and there are lines nearly every time of the day. I leave for lunch and have to cut through the line. Leave after work and have to cut through the line. Dr. Beat Soltermann (yes, that is a real name) is a Swiss radio reporter who was in town covering the election, and he couldn't...

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I didn't make it into the media pen, and I didn't get to the party I was supposed to cover in time, so, at about 9:30 p.m., my election night coverage was looking pretty skimpy. Somehow, in all the crowds that were wandering around downtown, I managed to hook up with a few friends on Michigan Avenue, and we decided—wholeheartedly and foolishly—to cut to the center of the "overflow," that is, the tens of thousands of people who were loitering on the eastern end of Grant Park looking at Jumbotrons and stepping on each other's feet... Read more

A designer who uses plus-sized models (Tennille White) . . . followed by an entire collection from a bikini designer who's riffing off a film noir theme? You're not in Oz, you're at the closing show of Chicago's weeklong fashion celebration! I don't mean this unkindly. There's a lot of diversity here in terms of designer backgrounds, inspiration, and even what constitutes "style." Last night's event—Macy's Presents the Designers of Chicago—did as much as any to illustrate that, booking accomplished locals Lara Miller (who's known for her gauzy, convertible shapes and eco-fashion mindset) and...

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