Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Big night. Big mystery. --

Big night. Big mystery. -- "On an unseasonably warm Friday night last October, the culinary gods filed into a tiny restaurant on a gritty stretch of Wicker Park.

There was Ferran Adria from Spain, Heston Blumenthal from England and Pierre Herme from France -- considered by many to be among the world's top chefs. Other culinary heavy hitters followed close behind.

For the workers at Schwa, it was like seeing the 1927 Yankees roll in their front door.

'To look out the [kitchen] window and see these guys walk in, all eating at our restaurant, it was just a huge ego boost,' says Nathan Klingbail, one of the cooks that night. 'These are all the people we idolize.'

For 33-year-old Michael Carlson, chef/owner of Schwa, the dinner marked the pinnacle of his meteoric rise from anonymous assistant chef to proprietor of one of the most talked-about restaurants in town. On this night, Chicago chef Charlie Trotter -- a superstar in his own right -- had chosen Carlson to serve a 14-course, four-hour meal to his high-profile guests.

'It was as high a pinnacle as you could ever have,' Carlson says. 'It will never get better than that.'

The day after the dinner -- with a full refrigerator and a full reservation book -- Carlson disappeared."

No comments: