Achatz comes at cool from several different directions. Before the backlash against the foams and chemical methods inherent to molecular gastronomy, Achatz was the substance behind the style of this approach. His culinary pedigree includes training with Thomas Keller, elBulli, and Charlie Trotter. Speaking of which, after basically being told by Trotter that he was persona non grata, he returned to Chicago and took over the city, first with Trio (making a suburb a must-visit destination for anybody serious about dining), and then with Alinea, where course after dazzling, perception-challenging course, "cool" feels like a horribly inadequate adjective. As if that weren't enough, now, with Next, he has invented a new kind of restaurant, one that changes concepts every few months and has redefined the way restaurants think about reservations. Oh, and on the side, he has created one of the most original cocktail bars in America, one of the most original cocktail bars in America with Aviary, which is cooler than the crystal-globe-like ice cubes that enclose some of the offerings.