Most locals know Chef Beau MacMillan as the guy who bested Iron Chef Bobby Flay. MacMillan's headed back to Food Network in January for a new show called The Worst Cooks in America, where he and Chef Anne Burrell attempt to whip some of the most pitiful home cooks into shape via a cooking boot camp.
This past Friday, MacMillan gave New Times a sneak peek at the construction process and the changes to his home away from home.
Right now, it takes a lot of imagination to see the final product in the skeletal two-by-four walls. But according to MacMillan, they're on schedule to get the kitchen area done in early January and officially reopen in February.
The renovations will add about 2,500 square feet to the existing restaurant, with separate, bedroom-sized walk-in coolers for meats, produce and dairy and a private dining room called XII, which will boast a 50-inch plasma TV, a marble table that seats up to 12 guests and a view of the kitchen through an entire wall of windows and curtains. Beau's central hub will be this stainless steel kitchen, which includes custom ranges, two chef's tables, a Spanish plancha oven and a raw bar prep area.
When the idea of renovations first came up, MacMillan was given carte blanche to create a design for his dream kitchen. He submitted the plans and kept his fingers crossed. Turns out, MacMillan's dream came true. "They just said Beau, spell it out," he says. "I got pretty much everything I wanted. The little things that got cut from this project were so small...I'm in la-la land with this kitchen."
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The new dining area will feature three bold skylights and sliding glass walls that can be retracted on good weather days. The size of the main dining area won't change much from the original, but new outdoor areas will add extra seating. "When Sanctuary reopens, I can do 270 covers in the restaurant like I did before," says MacMillan. "Simultaneously I can put a party of 60 on the new west patio, a party of 40 on the edge, take care of Jade Bar."
The view out the new dining room's two glass walls is stunning. But the scenery isn't the only thing that's changing. MacMillan's unveiling a new menu made possible by the equipment upgrades. Look for a raw bar, fois gras pudding, escargot & mushroom dumplings, smoked Kurobuta pork chop with honey hoisin glaze and Mastro's style steaks cooked in elements' new 1800-degree charbroiler. "Before we were sleek, stylish, seductive," MacMillan says. "Now we're sleek, stylish, seductive... and evolved.