Subtitled, a chef's story of chasing greatness, facing death, and redefining the way we eat, Life on the line is a foodie memoir and more. Grant Achatz (pronounced AK’etz), tells of growing up in Michigan with family restaurants scattered throughout the St. Clair region. When he was five he was helping out at the restaurant. He knew he wanted to work in food but was looking for something more than family restaurants. So he started school at The Culinary Institute in New York and quickly moved onto different places, including a short stint at Charlie Trotters.
The message he seemed to learn from Charlie Trotters is how NOT to run a kitchen. But Achatz soon was on his way to The French Laundry and the man who would become his mentor, Thomas Keller. At The French Laundry, Achatz learned not only how to run a kitchen but also how to run a restaurant. It was Thomas Keller who sent him to a workshop in Spain run by Ferran Adria, the avante-garde Chef. Adria changed Achatz’s whole view of food. Achatz knew that this new way of preparing and presenting food was not right for The French Laundry. When Achatz saw an ad looking for a chef to run the restaurant Trio in Chicago, Achatz applied and got the job.
Achatz was on top of the world when he learned that he had a virulent form of tongue cancer. A chef needs his tongue for developing new foods and tastes. This was devastating to Achatz. And so he writes about how he had to deal with a prognosis that would possibly end his life in two years.
An interesting read for foodies, anyone interested in the restaurant business, and reading about someone dealing with a life-threatening illness.