Sometimes you read a story that amazes you and, makes you realize that you can overcome anything, this was one of these books. One of the restaurants that I hope to go to sometime soon is Ailnea in Chicago, rated one of the best restaurants in the world. The executive chef there is Grant Achatz, and this book is the story of his life thus far. Mr. Achatz is still very young (under forty), so I am sure that there will still be many more chapter to come in his life. Life on the Line is just that, the story of his life on the line of the kitchen, and then later as his own life is in jeopardy and on the line. There are highs and lows in the book where you can share his triumphs and joys, and then hear of his trials and tragedies.
This story follows him from his family restaurant growing up, to the Culinary Institute of America, to the famed French Laundry, El Bulli, and Trio, and on to Alinea a restaurant of his very own, and his triumph and James Beard award winning chef of the year. Yes, clearly he has been tremendously successful, but the road to his success has had some twists and turns. I always root for the underdog and I always love to see when people triumph over adversity. Mr. Achatz was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that was affecting his lymph nodes and his tongue. His diagnosis was bleak the doctors wanted to remove his tongue as it was mostly cancerous. He chronicles his thoughts as he goes through chemotherapy and treatments and also speaks of his worries for himself, his family, his career.
Mr Achatz goes from specialist to specialist and finally finds the one that gives him the treatment he needs, yet is still able to spare him the agony of the removal of his tongue and has an optimistic outlook for his future. Amazingly enough Mr. Achatz survives and triumphs. As a woman who has had numerous health problems myself I admire his candor as he goes through these trials, and I admire someone who fights so hard and perseveres to the end. He truly is an inspiration both professionally and personally to so many people and I love reading this book, I rooted for him in every page. If you are looking for a book to lift your spirits and remind you of the greatness of the human spirit please read this book.
As for me, I have read the book and re-read the book and am looking forward to Mr. Love from Scratch getting to visit Chicago and experience Alinea, and hopefully then I can then express my gratitude for the inspiration he has given me. Check the book out, you will not be disappointed.