This morning, Michael Muser, the award-winning wine director at the Peninsula Chicago, announced he was leaving his post at the celebrated hotel to join Curtis Duffy at his forthcoming new restaurant, Grace. This move reunites the two men who worked together when Duffy headed the kitchen at the now-shuttered Avenues at the Peninsula and earned two Michelin stars.
Muser will leave the Peninsula as of May 31 and begin working at Grace, at which he is also a partner and the general manager. This is something Muser has been planning for months, but was waiting until the right time to make it official. Muser will design his wine program around Duffy's elegant cuisine. He'll focus on small-batch, handcrafted wine, many from France's Loire and Rhone valleys. Muser said this style of wine matches Duffy's seasonally driven, ingredient-focused culinary style.
Since Grace is being built more or less from the ground up (OK, the building is there but it was stripped raw), Muser will work with Duffy to help design the room. "It's not often in your career that you get to design a room around the service pattern," Muser told 312DD. "This is the first time I get to design a dining room that works best for service." Watch for Grace to open on Randolph Street this fall.
· Curtis Duffy Confirms Grace as Name of New Restaurant [~EChi~]
· Michael Muser to Move on to Grace [312DD]