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The Inventive Mind Behind The Aviary NYC

Chef Grant Achatz seeks to push the limits of the food and beverage industry with his new high-concept cocktail bar, The Aviary NYC at Mandarin Oriental, where the guest experience is defined by unexpected colors, textures, dimensions, and design choices.

Released on 10/10/2017


Being curious.

Just wondering, why does that look good,

why does this taste good,

is the most important thing for me.

As a child, I drew a lot, I worked with my hands.

Part of who I am was to be curious.

Everything that I smell, hear, taste,

it's just all about food.

My name is Grant Achatz, I'm the chef and co-owner

of Alinea, The Aviary, Next, and Roister.

The Aviary is the Alinea group's high-sale bar.

It focuses on forward thinking,

innovative ways to reinvent cocktails.

We're very focused on aesthetics and we're very focused

on the composition of not only the item that you're eating,

but the plate that it goes on, the colors, the texture,

the dimension of it.

Things obviously need to look good,

but I feel like there's something else there.

As chefs, we now take another path.

The menu that we have here in New York is a blend

of Alinea and Aviary classics, but also we kind of did some

New York-ified things, if you will.

The pork belly dish is conceptualized by all the things

that I like to eat: banana, coconut, cashews, pork belly,

just kind of all combined into one.

From a culinary perspective, they work really well together

because you have the foundation of cooking,

which is sweet, salt, acid, and fat.

So when you combine those together,

you typically get something that's delicious.

When we've compressed that lettuce

and it becomes translucent, we do that for a textural reason

and a flavor reason, but we also do it as a sculptor

trying to figure out how we can manipulate certain

ingredients and make them kind of resonate

with people visually.

It's a very important part of our cooking.

What we want people to expect when they come to The Aviary

is the unexpected.

Nothing that they've ever seen or tasted

or experienced before, that's our M.O.