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Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat By Grant Achatz Nick Kokonas Johnny Heller,

  • Title: Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat
  • Author: Grant Achatz Nick Kokonas Johnny Heller
  • ISBN: 9781452651279
  • Page: 287
  • Format: Audio CD
  • In 2007, chef Grant Achatz seemingly had it made He had been named one of the best new chefs in America by Food Wine in 2002, received the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Award in 2003, and in 2005 he and Nick Kokonas opened the conceptually radical restaurant Alinea, which was named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine Then, positioneIn 2007, chef Grant Achatz seemingly had it made He had been named one of the best new chefs in America by Food Wine in 2002, received the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Award in 2003, and in 2005 he and Nick Kokonas opened the conceptually radical restaurant Alinea, which was named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine Then, positioned firmly in the world s culinary spotlight, Achatz was diagnosed with stage IV squamous cell carcinoma tongue cancer The prognosis was grim, and doctors agreed that the only course of action was to remove the cancerous tissue, which included his entire tongue Desperate to preserve his quality of life, Grant undertook an alternative treatment of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation But the choice came at a cost Skin peeled from the inside of Grant s mouth and throat, he rapidly lost weight, and most alarmingly, he lost his sense of taste Tapping into the discipline, passion, and focus of being a chef, Grant rarely missed a day of work He trained his chefs to mimic his palate and learned how to cook with his other senses As Kokonas was able to attest, the food was never better Five months later, Grant was declared cancer free, and just a few months following, he received the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef in America Award Life, on the Line tells the story of a culinary trailblazer s love affair with cooking, but it is also a book about survival, about nurturing creativity, and about profound friendship Already much anticipated by followers of progressive cuisine, Grant and Nick s gripping narrative is filled with stories from the world s most renowned kitchens the French Laundry, Charlie Trotter s, el Bulli and sure to expand the audience that made Alinea the number one selling restaurant cookbook in America last year.
    Life on the Line A Chef s Story of Chasing Greatness Facing Death and Redefining the Way We Eat In chef Grant Achatz seemingly had it made He had been named one of the best new chefs in America by Food Wine in received the James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef of the Year Award in

    One thought on “Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat”

    1. Excellent book if you are a foodie and into the best chefs in the world I m a big fan of TV shows Top Chef and Top Chefs Masters which bring the best chefs in the US into competition The shows are very entertaining.

    2. Quite the opposite of a meal at Alinea, there s nothing unexpected here Unfortunately, this autobiography is a largely uninteresting series of anecdotes connected loosely in a chronology, lacking the introspection and insight I expected based on pre release media and pr, which focused on Achatz considerable professional achievements and remarkable recovery from oral cancer Achatz has a very compelling personal narrative, but what could be a really engaging and insightful memoir never rises above [...]

    3. I have always enjoyed good writing about food, cooking and chefs and picked this up from the library hoping for something similar Instead, I found a borderline egomaniacal memoir lacking in real insight about Grant Achatz It neither defended his high concept food or elucidated his philosophy He revealed almost nothing about himself except that he was very hardworking, ambitious, and creative It was very much a first this happened, and then that happened and I wanted to be the best kind of memoir [...]

    4. My husband and I are going to Chicago next week Alas, getting a reservation for Grant Achatz s new restaurant, Next, is about as likely as getting a ride on the space shuttle So I ll have to be content with reading this book.Fortunately, I really liked it Achatz is not a professional writer, and can come across as detached but maybe that s just his personality However, he does manage to tie his love of food in through writing about his whole childhood and into his professional career I loved his [...]

    5. Four eggs, five seconds, hinged open one at a time, no shells I flipped both sets over, waited forty five seconds, and flipped them back Then I turned them onto the awaiting plates They were absolutely perfect It s an iconic moment from Grant Achatz s student days at the Culinary Institute of America training Even then, he had that assertive self assurance and the goods to back it up Perfectionism and fierce compulsiveness drove his quest for recognition.Achatz is extraordinarily articulate in t [...]

    6. I really loved this book I agree with my fellow friend reviewers that the sudden insertions of narrative from the business partner were sort of odd after reading the first two thirds of the book in Achatz s voice, but the oddness didn t detract from the enjoyment In any case, by that point I was invested enough in Achatz s story, and liked him enough, to appreciate seeing him through other eyes as also pointed out by a fellow friend reviewer It s hard to describe why I loved the book so much I v [...]

    7. This is a peculiar book One part culinary coming of age, one part how to set up a world class restaurant, complete with detailed investor reports, one part cancer survival story Five stars for parts one and three, three stars for part two Honestly, does anyone beyond an investor or interior designer need that much detail about the sourcing and pricing of chairs This memoir is also confiding and distancing Once Grant becomes a success, he steps back from his readers by turning a good chunk of the [...]

    8. It s getting to a point in our culture where everyone writes a memoir Whether they are famous or not, regardless of their job, regardless of having anything to say However, the concept of this memoir is interesting Grant Achatz is a chef who ends up getting tongue cancer and losing his sense of taste Poetic, right However, this doesn t even come up until about of the way through the book The whole first 75% is about his restaurant and being trained as a chef Almost nothing is mentioned about his [...]

    9. LOVED I would love this book to get made as a movie I have a fascination with the culinary world, and if I had a better palette, in the sense of not being so picky I totally would have loved to become a chef I love the tv shows, and the movies I have watched but something about this story and these people and how Grant was able to beat cancer was a beautiful story Great Read

    10. Achatz and the money manThis is not so much a book review as random thoughts from a person who would be interested in eating at Alinea.Besides reading the New Yorker article on him and his horrific tongue cancer, I hadn t really paid too much attention to Grant Achatz From a cursory glance, his style of cuisine most easily described as molecular gastronomy reminded me a lot of that of New York chef Wylie Dufresne When I sampled the latter s food, I found to it to be intellectually stimulating t [...]

    11. If you are interested in teeny tiny food and really huge egos, read Life, on the Line.The first paragraph of the letter that I received with this book says At the age of 36, Grant Achatz has already achieved the kind of success that most chefs, and indeed, most people, only dream of In fact, he was literally at the top of his profession by the age of 32, when his Chicago restaurant, Alinea, was named the 1 restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine Within months, however, Achatz s world would cru [...]

    12. In his memoir Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain witnesses a chef shagging a just married, obliging bride on top of a 55 gallon drum outside of her wedding reception while her unsuspecting groom dances on the other side of a Dutch door Mario Batali once took to the stage of a crowd of 400 in his trademark orange Crocs, and called certain members of the audience weasel f wads paying no mind that the crowd also included the king and queen of Spain Masa Takayama charges 350 for a tasting menu, [...]

    13. As someone who is a cancer survivor and a bit of a foodie I was disappointed on both counts by this book.The book has two voices , Greg Achatz and Nick Kokonos, who was both a friend and major investor when Achatz began the work of opening his groundbreaking restaurant, Alinea Both authors speak in this book and their written voices are differentiated by different typefaces, providing a different view of the events surrounding Achatz s restaurant career as well as his bout of cancer.But although [...]

    14. I heard the author interviewed on NPR when this book was released The poignant and thought provoking questions of Terry Gross made for an interesting story about a man who nearly lost his passion Sadly none of the interview translated into the book I kept reading hoping I would soon get to experience this man s struggle and eventual triumph But the facing death aspect of the book was unrelatable and grandiose I finished the book thinking Wow, this guy is a pretentious asshole The only redeemable [...]

    15. This is the story of Grant Achatz who grew up cooking in his families restaurants, but always knew he was destined to be a great chef He finishes culinary school, works for some of the world s best chefs, and finally gets the opportunity to open his own restaurant Shortly after opening Alinea, Achatz discovers that he has oral cancer and is faced with the possibility of never tasting again I really wanted to like this book My husband is a chef and I work in oncology, so I thought it was a book t [...]

    16. I heard about Achatz from my ex caterer husband My current husband, who used to be a caterer, I mean He s still a foodie, and tends to come up with the oddest trivia in this case, he was all excited about Achatz s cold griddle, which freezes foods the way a hot griddle cooks them Then my stepmom, who is something of a connoisseur of memoirs by people who are facing some terrible medical issue, read and loved this book So I sought it out.Achatz is an interesting character intense, driven, and not [...]

    17. This book made me tired Enter a rant that probably isn t really about modern cuisine at all Forget about global warming, the economy, and animal stories of bravery and redemption for a minute I m tired of reading books from twenty to thirty somethings speaking as if they have anything real to share These people Young, elitist, enabled and doe eyed Young, elitist, enabled and doe eyed These people seem to polarize all art into two camps 1 content, and 2 form Being spirtually devoid, they focus on [...]

    18. i enjoyed reading Life, on the line it was well written for a first book, especially for one written by a chef the story of grant s development in restaurants and culinary school to the time he started alinea was a page turner when the business partner aspect came into the story, it slowed a bit although i did appreciate the outsider point of view during the diagnosis and treatment portion of the story in the end, it confirmed that cancer sucks and now I know that tongue cancer might be in the t [...]

    19. My review for AP Life, on the Line A Chef s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat Gotham Books, 27.50 , by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas Grant Achatz had already won acclaim as one of the nation s top chefs when he was diagnosed, at age 33, with advanced cancer of the tongue The recommended treatment was devastating A surgeon would remove his tongue, lymph nodes and a portion of his jaw There would be chemotherapy and radiation, and still his chance of survival [...]

    20. The core story in this gripping memoir makes you ask yourself If I had to give up the thing that makes my life pleasurable, enjoyable, worth living, would I do it, even to save my life Grant Achatz, is by all accounts, an amazing chef Creative, daring, hardworking Cooking is his first and only career, and he has been cooking since he was five years old at his parent s diner His discipline is well documented in Life, on the Line but there are also stories in which the chef recognizes the lucky br [...]

    21. A review in 10 points 1 Achatz built his internationally renowned Chicago based restaurant, Alinea, from scratch.1a You can t afford to eat there Me neither.1b It s like 1 on Gourmet s to eat list.1c The food is so hoity toity that it comes with instructions.1d A meal at this restaurant costs something like 900.2 Achatz caught cancer of the tongue and endured badass experimental therapy so he wouldn t have to have his tongue amputated and replaced with arm muscle.3 This book isn t about the food [...]

    22. Subtitle a chefs story of chasing greatness, facing death, and redefining the way we eatI really enjoyed this book As a story, as a non cook foodie, as a creative person and as an autobiography lover What a fascinating tale about the innovative chef Grant Achatz renowned for Alinea restaurant His story from growing up in a dinner in Detroit to culinary school to working at the French Laundry to Trio to co owning his own Alinea The only distracting part was half way thru the book the voice of his [...]

    23. Several times while reading this I had to check the cover to make sure I wasn t reading Lance Armstrong s autobiography again The arrogant similarities between these two men are that pronounced Granted, they both have very disparate careers, but the general tone and end result mirror each other That is not to say that, in this case, Achatz earned his kudos, but, despite that, what makes him deserve so much special cancer treatment than the rest of us Perhaps I got this wrong, but I thought this [...]

    24. I learned about this book, like so many others, while listening to Fresh Air with Terry Gross I must have been doing a bank deposit for a former employer, because I came in partway through the interview When I heard the name Achatz I turned it up There was a diner in my hometown called Achatz Diner Couldn t be the same people, could it Well, close They re related.Grant Achatz is a multi award winning chef His restaurant, Alinea, changed the way people think about food It seemed nothing could sto [...]

    25. Chef Achatz Ak ets is a great chef There is no doubt about that And Nick Kokonas, his Alinea co owner, is a good friend This memoir combines both of their sides of the Alinea story I understand the reviews of others who say that there was no heart, and I agree with that too I also think that Achatz held back from exposing too much of his personal life i.e Angela, the mother of his children, disappears after the divorce, his father turns up only once in his career and so on However, I think Achat [...]

    26. Imagine The restaurant which you built from scratch from the ground up was just rated the number one restaurant in the country by Gourmet magazine You are among the most innovative chefs in the US, if not the world You have two young sons who look up to you You are 33 years old And then you are diagnosed with tongue cancer WTF This biography about an incredibly ambitious chef who had the privilege to train at some of the most elite restaurants in the country Charlie Trotter s, French Laundry wou [...]

    27. Biography 13 of my Library Biorgraphy challenge.Quite frankly I never heard of Grant Achatz prior to reading this book, nor do I have any knowledge on professional cooking nor have I ever dined at a high end restuarant So, this book was really interesting to me.The majority of this book is written by Achatz About half way through the book Nick Kokonas begins adding his commentary Much of the book is how cooking transformed Achatz and how his confidence allowed him to succeed I appreciated Kokona [...]

    28. I had never heard of Chef Achatz before I picked up this book, neither am I a foodist or patron of world class restaurants, but the book kept me reading and I was done with it within 3 days of starting I wouldn t bet on it winning any literary prizes, but it does tell a gripping story of a young man with big ambitions and a clear vision for his life and himself It was interesting to understand the overall picture of his quarter life story where he started, how he got to places, the struggles, te [...]

    29. Life, on the Line A Chef s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat by Grant Achatz begins with a young boy who starts cooking in his family s restaurants when he was 5, continues with the young man who starts his dream restaurant in his 20s, wins numerous awards and is diagnosed with Stage IV cancer of the tongue at the age of 29 This is the story of achieving the peak of his dreams then diving into the depths of despair and coming out on the other side It is the [...]

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