Grant Achatz's career as a chef has been built around beating the odds—from his humble Midwestern beginnings and rise to stardom in Chicago; his iconoclastic vision of the American dining experience; and his life-threatening battle with cancer that temporarily stripped him of his ability to taste. In all these situations, Achatz defiantly and definitively surmounted innumerable obstacles to become—and remain—one of the world's most recognizable and respected chefs.
Grant Achatz: The Remarkable Rise of America's Most Celebrated Young Chef, a collection of articles taken from the Chicago Tribune, is an up-close examination of Achatz's personal history and international impact in the culinary world. Included are rare interviews on Achatz's humble beginnings as a young chef and modest lifestyle, stories from his stint as executive chef of Evanston, Illinois's four-star restaurant Trio, long-unseen restaurant reviews, as well as features on his innovative restaurants Aviary and Next, which play with Achatz's trademark concept of molecular gastronomy and the importance of presentation and memory in fine dining.
In the middle of all this success, Achatz was diagnosed with stage-four squamous cell carcinoma, a rare cancer afflicting the tongue that completely eliminated Achatz's sense of taste. Told he would die if he did not have his tongue surgically removed, Achatz tenaciously clung to the belief he would be able to regain the sense most vital to his extraordinary talent. While undergoing experimental treatment to regain his sense of taste, Achatz continued to manage Alinea and even improved it despite his professionally debilitating condition. Miraculously, Achatz made a full recovery and regained his ability to taste while going on to open one of the culinary world's most discussed and praised new restaurants: Next.
Grant Achatz tells the story of the man at the forefront of modern culinary trends and the world's top-rated restaurants, as seen through both his own eyes and the journalists who have been covering his fights against the odds from the beginning.
by Chicago Tribune Staff
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