** Life, On the Line by Grant Achatz

Life, on the Line is the life story of the chef behind the uber-famous Alinea restaurant in Chicago, including his bout with very untimely and peculiarly cruel, for a chef, tongue cancer. If you are thinking that tongue cancer and chef odyssey are a strange pairing for a book, you are right. And unfortunately the author and his co-author, his business partner for the restaurant, try to transform the last third of the book into sage guidance for opening and running a restaurant, which I don’t particularly care to learn about…

But I really liked the beginning, in which the young chef is born in a restaurant-owning family, but in a totally different genre of restaurant, the cheap, family style kind, and slowly moves to professional culinary training and eventually to The French Laundry in Napa where he discovers obsessively careful cooking, although it’s way too conservative for his lofty ambitions. I found it very interesting to follow his trajectory towards his own place, and along the way his descriptions of what really happens in kitchens while the diners enjoy soft music and romantic lighting. Maybe you can step the lame discussions of how restaurants are funded and managed (it turns out, just like any other business – who knew?)

1 Comment

Filed under True story

One response to “** Life, On the Line by Grant Achatz

  1. Pingback: *** The Sorcerer’s Apprentices by Lisa Abend | FT's Books

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