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October 15, 2014

Michelin-Starred Chef Christian Bau Comes to Chicago’s L2O

By Shivani Vora | Restaurants
Michelin-Starred Chef Christian Bau Comes to Chicago’s L2O
Photo courtesy of Anjali Pinto

Forget pop-ups: The latest culinary trend among chefs is to lock the doors of their own top kitchens and temporarily take the helm of other noteworthy restaurants.

Alinea’s Grant Achatz brought his famed molecular gastronomy to Eleven Madison Park for five nights in 2012, and René Redzepi of the Copenhagen-based Noma is heading to the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo early next year to try his hand at Japanese cooking. Another such high-profile residency will come to fruition on October 22 and 23, when Michelin three-star chef Christian Bau will close his nine-table boîte, Schloss Berg, in southwest Germany, to cook alongside Matthew Kirkley, executive chef at the upscale seafood-focused L2O in Chicago.

The duo’s collaborative, ten-course dinner reflects their mutual passion for cooking crustaceans: Bau’s dishes include a blue lobster with orange confit and umami foam and U.S. prime beef with eggplant, mushrooms and onions; while Kirkely will present creations like crab chip seasoned with Old Bay and marine cider vinegar and pigeon with red cabbage. Expect clever wine pairings, like single-vineyard Rieslings, with every course, each selected by the restaurants’ respective sommeliers.

The experience is an anomaly for both Bau and Kirkely, who rarely do collaborative dinners. “I started talking to [Bau] after finishing the most incredible four-hour dinner,” recalls Kirkley of the evening he spent at Schloss Berg this past January. “We drank German beer and hatched this plan to cook together.”

Nearly a year later, their shared fancy now takes shape on your plate. $350 a person with wine but without tax and gratuity; 2300 N. Lincoln Park West; 773-868-0002; l2orestaurant.com.