We were longtime fans and friends of groundbreaking science-minded chef Homaro Cantu, best known for his Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant Moto. I first met Omar over a decade ago when he showed up in my office at TIME magazine to talk with me about Moto. As he fed me foam packing peanuts which tasted like buttered popcorn, had me chew on a picture of a cow that tasted just like a seared steak, and cooked a piece of fish in a see-through box on my desk, I was impressed by his creativity, passion, intelligence and enthusiasm. Part restaurant, part science lab, with a goodly amount of performance art thrown in, Moto restaurant was a molecular gastronomy/modernist cooking pioneer. Since Cantu's passing in April of last year, many have wondered about the future of Moto. Last Friday Cantu's widow Katie McGowan announced the sale of the restaurant to the Alinea Group. The full statements from McGowan and The Alinea group below.
The statement below is attributed to Katie McGowan, Owner of Moto Restaurant.
Today, we came to an agreement to sell Moto Restaurant to the Alinea Group. This bittersweet decision comes after deep reflection of the lasting impact my husband, the late Chef Homaro Cantu, made with his first restaurant.
A true visionary, Homaro fused his love of food with his genius for science, and forever changed the landscape of modern dining when he opened Moto twelve years ago. Fervent about revolutionizing how, where and what we eat, he brought new possibilities to light in a way that challenged traditional thinking and inspired conversation worldwide about the future of food. Moto was the wellspring of this passion.
Homaro’s enthusiasm was contagious, and there is nothing he enjoyed more than fostering talent and bringing the staff into his magnetic, creative fold. The team members that have graced us with their talent over the years championed and fostered Homaro’s vision as fervently as though it were their own. They have become family, and I am forever grateful.
Moto wouldn’t have thrived without our guests – many of whom traveled from around the world – to dine with us. Whether they joined us just once, or came back time and time again for a new journey, their hunger, curiosity and delight were the spark that always propelled Homaro. I am thankful to them for spending their precious time with us.
Looking to the future, I am pleased to have come to an agreement with Nick Kokonas, Grant Achatz and the Alinea Group. I am inspired by their innovation and pioneering spirit, and wish them all the best with their new project. I can’t wait to see their vision and thank them for taking over the space as I begin a new chapter.
Moto’s final day of service will be Sunday, February 14. Please join us for one last adventure.