—Next’s newest iteration, Ancient Rome, kicked off this week, and naturally the Alinea Group released a video for it — one that features Grant Achatz dangling a bunch of grapes over a woman’s mouth. The video, which employs a mannequin challenge-esque freeze-frame style backed by a Jay-Z track, also features Nick Kokonas and other Next staff in front of an opulent Roman feast at a large table. Watch the full thing below; tickets are available on Tock.
—After the settlement of their $550K lawsuit, chef Jason Paskewitz has officially left his own acclaimed French restaurant, The Blanchard, although he remains a minority owner. Paskewitz has moved onto the Chicago Cut guys’ extravagant River North seafood restaurant, Ocean Cut, the Tribune reports, where he takes over for Dirk Flanigan as the former C Chicago’s third chef since it opened in 2015, and will launch a new menu on Feb. 1. Read more about the first year of Paskewitz’s The Blanchard here, which drew so many local and national accolades that he was already scouting spaces for a follow-up — until the lawsuit happened — and strived to be known as "the guy who reinvented French cuisine in Chicago."
—Baconfest organizers have released the restaurant and chef lineup for this year’s annual heart-stopping pork extravaganza, coming to UIC Forum on March 31 and April 1. First-time participants include Jam, Arbella, Paulie Gee’s, Baptiste & Bottle, Boleo, DMen Tap, and many more. Read the whole list here and tickets are available here.
—Eataly Chicago is bringing in a slew of heavy-hitters for bi-weekly neapolitan pizza events on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning Jan. 31 with Abe Conlon of Fat Rice. Future collaboration chefs for the events, which run until April 27, include Jason Hammel, Takashi Yagihashi, Sarah Grueneberg, Bill Kim, and many more.
—And finally, Michelin-starred GreenRiver, known for its cocktails, has launched a tasting menu at dinner. The six-course, $125 menu (with $55 optional wine pairings) includes smoked sturgeon with caviar and creme fraiche, and A-5 wagyu.