Here’s Why 37 Of the World’s Greatest Chefs Are About to Swap Kitchens

Gelinaz! Knows how to get the world's best chefs together for a surprise party…  © Ryan King, Fine Dining Lovers
By Kate Krader Posted July 01, 2015

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. 

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:

*The major rule: Chefs can’t bring any of their go-to local ingredients, and they have to cook a meal in the style of the restaurant you’re going to. If Alain Ducasse were to land at NYC’s Mission Chinese Food, for instance, he wouldn’t be serving truffles and caviar; he would have to do his own version of Mapo Tofu. (There's one exception: Thailand’s David Thompson is packing local spices.)

*The second rule: Petrini picked the chefs’ names out of a hat or a pot or something; it was all left up to chance. (There are two exceptions: Spain’s Andoni Luis Aduriz asked to go to a Spanish-speaking kitchen; Ducasse asked not to travel too far – so I guess he’s not coming to make Mapo Tofu at Mission Chinese Food after all.) Petrini says that five or six of the matches, especially, “are magic; they could not have been better.”

*Here are the names of the 37 participating chefs. Better yet, watch Dave Chang mispronounce most of them, here And keep your eyes on Instagram, Periscope and Twitter to see where they all end up. I’m going to Ko in New York City; I think I know who my chef is. But I’ll surprise you.

·    Dominique Crenn, USA — Atelier Crenn (San Francisco)
·    Sean Gray, USA — Momofuku Ko (New York)
·    Andoni Luis Aduriz, Spain — Mugaritz (Errenteria)
·    Massimiliano Alajmo, Italy — Le Calandre (Padova)
·    Magnus Nilsson, SE Sweden — Fäviken (Jarpen)
·    Daniel Patterson, USA — Coï (San Francisco)
·    Petter Nilsson, Sweden — Sprit Museum (Stockholm)
·    Colombe Saint-Pierre, Canada — Chez Saint-Pierre (Le Bic)
·    Mehmet Gürs, Turkey — Mikla (Istanbul)
·    Yoshihiro Narisawa, Japan — Narisawa (Tokyo)
·    Jock Zonfrillo, Australia — Orana (Adelaide)
·    Ben Shewry, Australia — Attica (Melbourne)
·    Bertrand Grebaut, France — Septime (Paris)
·    David Thompson, Thailand — Nahm (Bangkok)
·    Inaki Aizpitarte, France — Le Chateaubriand (Paris)
·    Sean Brock, USA — McCrady’s (Charleston)
·    Alex Atala, Brazil — D.O.M. (Sâo Paulo)
·    Mauro Colagreco, Argentina — Le Mirazur (Menton)
·    Rodolfo Guzman, Chile — Boragó (Santiago)
·    Ana Ros, Slovenia — Hisa Franko (Kobarid)
·    David Kinch, USA — Manresa (Los Gatos)
·    Riccardo Camanini, Italy — Lido 84 (Gardone Riviera)
·    René Redzepi, Denmark — Noma (Copenhagen)
·    Albert Adrià, Spain — Pakta (Barcelone)
·    Yannick Alléno, France — Alléno Paris (Paris)
·    Alexandre Gauthier, France — La Grenouillère (Montreuil s/ Mer)
·    Carlo Mirarchi, USA — Blanca (New York)
·    Alain Ducasse, France — Le Plaza Athénée (Paris)
·    Virgilio Martinez, Peru — Central (Lima)
·    Paul Cunningham, Denmark — Henne Kirkeby Kro (Henne)
·    Davide Scabin, Italy — Combal Zero (Rivoli)
·    Fulvio Pierangelini, Italy — Hotel de Russie (Roma)
·    Claude Bosi, United Kingdom — Hibiscus (London)
·    Danny Bowien, USA — Mission Chinese Food (New York)
·    Massimo Bottura, Italy — La Francescana (Modena)
·    Kobe Desramaults, Belgium — In de Wulf (Dranouter)
·    Blaine Wetzel, USA — Willows I

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