Before filming the inaugural Key Ingredient challenge, Grant Achatz took a few minutes to show us around Alinea and talk about his restaurant Next, which is scheduled to open Wednesday (tickets haven’t yet gone on sale, but there’s a preview from a “practice run” dinner on LTHForum).

The concept was inspired by a meal Achatz cooked for his business partner, Nick Kokonas, after Kokonas drove back from a golf tournament in Michigan upon hearing that Achatz had been diagnosed with Stage IV tongue cancer. After the jump, Achatz talks about the duck dish that made Kokonas crave classic French and Italian cooking, his own desire for ramen, and how that evolved into a restaurant that will completely change in concept every three months.