Guess which direction they’d go.

By Kate Krader
November 07, 2013

When Grant Achatz and Alex Stupak—two of the country’s most brilliant chefs—team up to make Thanksgiving dinner, what direction do they go? Traditional, like the ones Achatz grew up with in Michigan? (His grandmother actually made a green Jell-O mold for the holiday.) Or the opposite, doing things that no one would expect?

F&W got to preview the incredible dinner that Achatz and Stupak (his former pastry chef at Alinea) will prepare tonight at Stupak’s Manhattan restaurant Empellón Cocina. It’s the fourth installment of Stupak’s Push Project dinner series.

No green Jell-O molds. Instead we tasted awesome walnut cake canapés Achatz will serve as an hors d’oeuvre—toasted compressed walnuts and a hit of lingonberry puree, arrayed on deer skins. (The nuts were part of an homage to Achatz’s memory of an “awkward lead crystal bowl of nuts with a nutcracker shoved in,” on the family coffee table.)

We also sampled the creamy turkey liver–and–foie gras mousse that Achatz and his pastry chef wife, Lauren Resler, will serve. It was ingeniously accompanied by turkey schmaltz (in a hat tip to New York City and our chicken fat heritage), and pecan pie filling because there was no room left on the menu for the actual dessert.

But those were just two bites. Next up, Achatz and Stupak’s big fat, 12-course T-day meal. It’s going to be epic. Spoiler alert: The wishbone plays a big part in the dinner.

Related: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Recipe Guide
Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas
Recipes from Alex Stupak