The chef of Chicago’s famous Michelin restaurant Alinea sparked a Twitter debate when he considered banning babies from his $250-per-person establishment.
Chef Grant Achatz said a couple brought their baby to Alinea on Saturday and the infant had a crying fit that upset other diners, many of whom made reservations months in advance.
“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 …” the chef tweeted Saturday.
Achatz also tweeted a photo of a dish with two fish heads stuffed with whole shrimp. “Definitely not baby food,” he wrote.
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Many of his replies were affirmative. That’s because Alinea has a ticket-based reservation system that charges about $250. If reservations are cancelled, there is no refund.
“Wait. Someone brought an infant to Alinea? What in the actual f--k?” wrote one man.
“You choose to have a child (it's not mandatory or forced on anyone), then ya give up some other things,” wrote another woman.
But some didn’t agree.
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“Hard when you shell out that money for non cancelable tics and lose sitter last minute. That is a ticket vs. reservation issue,” one person tweeted.
"What are they supposed to do if their sitter cancelled at the last minute? $1,000 worth of non-refundable tickets,” wrote another.
“Hosts should be prepared for anything. Seriously. You can create the mouth-magic that you do, but not handle an 8 month old?” one woman asked Achatz.
Achatz edgily responded, “yes, could personally remove them from the building myself as to not disturb other guests. That reasonable?”
Is it reasonable to insist that people with children should leave them at home in order to experience fine dining? Should having a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant mean controlling the other people who dine there at the same time?