Here’s a date that promises to be huge for many of the best chefs around the world: Thursday, July 9th. It's the day that 37 of them do the culinary version of Wife Swap, aka the Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle. Each participating chef packs his or her bags and knives and goes to take over the life of another outstanding cook, staying in his or her house, driving his or her car and, ultimately, cooking an 8-course menu for a dining room full of guests at his or her restaurant on that monumental July 9th evening. This scenario will be repeated from Tokyo to Cophenhagen to Lima to Charleston. Reservations at all 37 restaurants sold out almost instantaneously. The effect will be one of a giant SURPRISE, travelling from time zone to time zone, as the chefs come out of the kitchen or pop out of a cake or however they decide to announce themselves.
This whole spectacle is the brainchild of Gelinaz!, the chef collective that brilliantly combines art and food and music. Founded by Andrea Petrini and Alexandra Swenden, the 10-year-old collective’s motto is ‘beyond food and evil.’ Their frequent collaborator in these cool projects is the restaurant-obsessed water company S.Pellegrino. If the Gelinaz! name is familiar to you, it’s probably because last year they organized one of the most epic surprise parties ever, for Wylie Dufresne, secretly bringing in chefs like Noma’s Rene Redzepi and DOM’s Alex Atela to cook his signature dishes at Dufresne’s restaurant WD-50 in NYC. The super smart Gelinaz! Shuffle idea came courtesy of chef Blaine Wetzel. “At a meeting, he spread a bunch of papers on the floor with arrows going from Sao Paolo to Sweden to Italy,” recalls Petrini. “Danny Bowien was there, he said ‘This is the craziest s**t I ever heard. Let’s do it tomorrow.’”
Here are 3 more cool things to know about Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle: