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Brandon Baltzley Brings His Pop-Up Dinners To Portland

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Eater Chicago

Editor's note: The post has been updated.
Brandon Baltzley, the bad-boy chef and media darling of Chicago, has apparently been holing up in Maine, working on a farm outside of Bangor since March. And now he is bringing CRUX, the pop-up dinner concept he pioneered in Chicago last fall, to Portland, in partnership with Joel Beauchamp of Food Coma TV. From an emailed press release:

CRUX was invented as a medium to do modern, thematic food in collaboration with other cooks in various locations. CRUX is not just a restaurant idea, but a concept to bring the co-op/collective business model into the national food scene – a truly equal relationship between everyone involved, with no barriers on what we do or where we do it.
The first in the series will be Saturday, July 28; the multi-course BYOB dinners will be at the same venue each week, with the location disclosed only to confirmed dinner guests. The cost is $75 per person "suggested donation" - Baltzley has donated proceeds from his CRUX dinners in Chicago to charity but it's not clear whether he'll continue that in Portland. Reservations can be made at

Baltzley has a reputation in Chicago as a genius chef who struggles with demons. He's locally famous not just for his self-taught cooking skills and edgy persona, but also for blowing through four plum chef posts in a single year - one of them was at Grant Achatz's Alinea. He's given candid interviews to both the Chicago Tribune and Details magazine about his hardcore cocaine addiction, which has landed him at least twice in rehab. More from the PR:

In March of 2012, Chef Brandon Baltzley set his sites on Maine as a place to draw new inspiration. He currently works on a farm just South of Bangor, and while he has gained a vast appreciation and deeper knowledge of local food from its source, he can't fight the urge to apply his passion for what we grow to his cooking. He will showcase new ideas inspired by his time in Maine, using locally sourced ingredients. Free from the expectations and anticipations of what CRUX means to Chicago, Brandon is eager to let his imagination run wild with all new menus created in Maine, for Maine, and to a certain extent, by Maine.
Here are the flavor pairings for the July 28 menu:
· Cucumber and soy
· Melon and cheese
· Cabbage and buttermilk
· Broccoli and garlic
· Tomato and pine
· Mutton and mustard
· Peas and mint
· Broken carrot
· Beet and oxalis
· Lobster and potato
· Zucchini and egg
· Berries and cream
· Corn and sheep sorrel

Baltzley has also been covered extensively in Eater Chicago.