Chicago Tribune claims Alinea's Grant Achatz is selling baby food
In what chef Grant Achatz surmised must have been an early start on April Fools Day, the Chicago Tribune, under food critic Phil Vettel's byline today posted a story claiming that the chef behind Alinea, Next and Aviary is producing a line of gourmet baby food. The item was pulled from the Trib's website shortly after Achatz linked to it in his Twitter feed. Luckily, I was able to save the piece, headlined "Grant Achatz launches line of baby food," before it disappeared into the ether.
The short piece includes what it purports to be quotes from Achatz. For instance, the chef is quoted as saying his goal with the baby food line is "to train the foodies of tomorrow today." The chef continues, according to Vettel:
"Up until now, my food has always been about challenging perceptions and assumptions, but babies don't have any. If this concept takes off, I'll be creating an entire generation of foodies for whom bacon-scented air will seem entirely normal, but cheeseburgers will appear exotic."
The supposed baby foods, which include a split pea and ham that includes neither of those ingredients but uses culinary sleight of hand to re-create the appropriate aroma, are said to cost from $54 to $107 per serving.
Upon reading the article, Achatz tweeted, "Did I miss a few weeks? Is today April 1st??"
Indeed, the piece seems like a humorous April Fools piece, but it has no tipoff, and it's curiously out of context on March 16.
As I was writing this post, Vettel solved the mystery for readers, writing on The Stew blog that the post was fake, he did write it, and it was an excerise from a content-creation class gone awry.
This isn't the first time the august Vettel has been linked to such tomfoolery. In 2009, the Trib's Cheeseburger Bureau Chief, Kevin Pang, was outed by a colleague as the comic mastermind of a fairly dicey fake Twitter feed purporting to be Vettel's. That content, too, was soon deleted after questions arose. But that, like this, was all in good fun.