Next at Next: An Alps-Inspired Menu with Stone Soup and Burning Logs

© Jenner Tomaska

By Justine Sterling Posted December 16, 2015

The ultra-innovative Chicago restaurant has some incredible plans for 2016.

The amazing team at Next, the innovative, shapeshifting Chicago restaurant from Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, has announced its lineup of menus for 2016. It's delightfully all over the place: In April, the restaurant will serve a culinary survey of South America. In October, the idea will be to recreate a single meal from The French Laundry—one served to Achatz and his father twenty years ago by his legendary mentor Thomas Keller. But first, the season kicks off on January 9 with the ultimate in winter dining: a warming, cozy menu inspired by the Alpine regions of Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Liechtenstein (a mountainous microstate with just 37,000 citizens). Next's chef de cuisine, Jenner Tomaska, gave us details on two very intriguing dishes:

Stone Soup
Inspired by the classic folktale in which a hungry young man essentially crowdfunds a pot of soup, Next’s Alps feast will begin when guests sit down to tables topped with glass teapots filled with herb bouquets, pots of cold soup and spices. “We place hot river stones into the pots tableside and the soup begins to boil and aromatize,” Tomaska says. “The herbs and spices will begin to infuse into the broth and will then be poured for the guest.”

The Char (pictured)
The apex of the menu features a cut of char, cured with fresh, woodsy ingredients like juniper, seared on top of a Swedish candle (a small log with slits cut through to the center, which burns from the inside when lit). The fish is then covered in a glass dome and smoked tableside. “Our goal was to bring the outdoors inside,” Tomaska says. “A rural experience in the most refined of spaces.” It will be paired with cauliflower, fermented cranberries and chanterelle mushrooms.

Ticket’s for Next’s 2016 season are on sale now at

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