Star chef causes stir after hinting at restaurant baby ban
Daniel Bitonti, CTV News
Published Tuesday, January 14, 2014 10:53AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 14, 2014 11:10AM EST
If you’re a foodie with a baby or tiny tot, this one might irk you.
On Saturday evening, acclaimed Chicago chef Grant Achatz created a bit of a Twitter storm when he hinted at the possibility of banning babies from his restaurant Alinea, after an infant had a crying fit and disturbed patrons.
Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no,but..— Grant Achatz (@Gachatz) January 12, 2014
Now Alinea isn’t your neighbourhood pizza or pasta joint with high chairs and a children's menu. The eatery has been ranked as one of the world’s top 50 restaurants and has been given three stars from the prestigious Michelin Guide. Achatz is known as a master of innovation, and was a given a James Beard award in 2008, essentially the Academy Award of the culinary world.
And Alinea is so trendy that the restaurant doesn’t even have a traditional reservation process -- people buy tickets instead, ranging anywhere from $210 to $265, for a prix-fixe meal that includes a variety of dishes.
Achatz’s tweet immediately created chatter on Twitter, with most people agreeing with what he said.
@Gachatz An 8mo baby doesn't belong in a fine dining restaurant. I have 2 little kids, so I know! :)— David J. Montgomery (@djmont) January 12, 2014
For many, the price to eat at Alinea was at the heart of the issue.
@Gachatz people pay a lot of money to eat with you. Many are escaping their kids for the night. Age limit is fine.— Micki Maynard (@CulinaryWoman) January 12, 2014
Other people wondered why the infant wasn’t left with a babysitter.
@Gachatz c'mon. it's called a babysitter. if you can afford dinner at alinea...— Suchita (@suchitavad) January 12, 2014
And certainly there were those who questioned whether or not a rude customer was worse than a crying baby.
Achatz sent out another tweet the following day, showing he wasn’t intent on backtracking from what he said.
Is it appropriate to bring a baby or small children to an upscale restaurant? Do you think Achatz would be justified in banning babies from his restaurant? Do you have any restaurant horror stories involving your children, or someone else’s children?