Next in Chicago often pays homage to a famous chef with a menu designed specifically around their work, but now they’ve chosen to honour José Andrés.
It can sometimes be easy to forget that José Andrés, despite his humanitarian work and philanthropy, is a chef first, and a damn good one at that. So while the Spanish born chef is serving up to half a million warm, free meals in the Bahamas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Chefs Grant Achatz and Edgar Tinoco chose the theme “The Best of José Andrés”.
The menu traces Andrés' journey from his northern Spain to his culinary empire in the United States via Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami Beach and even Disney World. with culinary touchpoints along the way.
“The Best of José Andrés” includes dishes from his many restaurants such as Jaleo, with an array of tapas, including José’s Taco (jamon Iberico topped with osetra caviar), pan con tomate with jamon Iberico and crispy bread topped with sea urchin and lardo.
Andres’ sense of humour comes through loud and clear in his cooking and to that effect there are chicken and bechamel croquetas, served in a clear plastic sneaker (a childhood reference for Andres) and a Minibar classic of ‘pizza’ with a Parmesan and edible-paper crust topped with matsutake mushrooms, black truffle and burrata.
There’s a cauliflower steak from Andrés’ “Vegetables Unleashed” cookbook, lobster roll of butter-poached lobster alongside a “croissant” of rolled potato sheets and his single-bite “Philly cheesesteak” of wagyu beef over cheddar-filled air bread.
The list goes on… it’s a full exploration of the Jose Andres culinary experience. However, it is more than a replication of dishes. “Even though we follow recipes to the T,” Tinoco told the Chicago Tribune, “we make sure you know you’re eating at Next.”
Best of all though, in support of Andrés’ charitable work, Next offers a two-seat “World Central Kitchen” table each night, priced at $500 per person (an upcharge of $100-plus). The entire $1,000 is donated to World Central Kitchen.