Team Achatz

Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas envisioned Next and the Aviary. A team of young, inspired chefs will bring the concepts to life.

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  • Photograph: Drew Reynolds

  • Photograph: Drew Reynolds

Photograph: Drew Reynolds


First photo, from left to right:

Andrew Graves, 32, corporate sous chef, R&D
“The thought of treating cocktails in the way that only food has been is something that will change how we experience them.”

Rene Deleon, 29, sous chef, Next
The brioche is special to me because it was the first thing we got right. When we gave it to chef, we expected him to tell us why it’s not perfect or what we should change. But when he put it in his mouth, he just looked up at us and smiled.”

Dave Beran, 29, executive chef, Next
“Initially [the concept] seemed kind of ridiculous. It was one of those ideas that’s so far out there and so different that it just didn’t seem to make sense at all. But…assuming everything works fine, it seems like [this is] just the way [restaurants should be] now.”

Second photo, from left to right:

Grant Achatz, 36, mastermind
“The entire menu [of the Aviary] is based on the parameters of it being original and progressive and kind of boundary-stretching—and still tasting delicious, like a cocktail should.”

Craig Schoettler, 24, cocktail chef, the Aviary
“There is no template for what we are doing. We are figuring out how to do it as we go.”

Greg Buttera, 29, chef de cuisine, the Aviary
“All the avant-garde stuff we’re doing finds its roots in classic mixology. Our drink makers have a firm grip on classic cocktails and the theory behind building them. When someone orders a daiquiri or a Sazerac, they’re going to say, ‘Hey, these guys can actually mix drinks.’ ”


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