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Extended Audio Sample Life, on the Line: A Chefs Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat, by Grant Achatz Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,856 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas Narrator: Johnny Heller Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781452671277
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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, 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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This must-read for the culinary crowd is the literary equivalent of caviar and Krug.”

    Booklist

  • Achatz and Kokonas share an engaging, well-written, and informative description of what it's like to work in commercial kitchens along with the stirring story of Achatz's fight for his life. Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 2/18/2014

    " I couldn't put this book down. A fascinating story and a quick read. Just be prepared to want to go out for dinner afterwards. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joyce Bock | 2/13/2014

    " Curiously interesting. The descriptions of how dishes were created and executed was as compelling as any mystery story. Being a semi- foodie who doesn't cook, I marvelled at the energy it takes to make a seemingly effortless yet artful dish. Grant's drive was off the chart. Glad he had a fine mentor. He gives everything in him to his work which leaves little for the people he loves. Perhaps this is what comes with unusual talent. Definitely worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meinhold | 2/1/2014

    " Achatz is the owner of Alinea in Chicago, considered one of the top restaurants in the country. Fascinating story of his life made extraordinary by his illness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Justin | 1/21/2014

    " A tad self-congratulatory, but filled with enough amusing anecdotes to make it worthwhile. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cinnamon | 1/18/2014

    " If you are a fan of Alinea, Grant Achatz, or food, then you'll like this book. I'm a fan of all three. And I'm glad I read the book and there was a lot that was interesting about it. But I wish more time was spent having Grant talk about his ideas behind food. The few times he does this after he starts Alinea are fascinating. So possibly just something to look forward to in a future book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Roxanneandvince Weber | 1/3/2014

    " The amazing journey of a young, world class chef and survivor of tongue cancer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Flynn | 12/31/2013

    " I am not a foodie but found this book quite enthralling! Makes me want to go to Alinea or Next! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tamika Koehn | 12/14/2013

    " Really interesting. About an young man that goes to culinary school, works with one of the best chefs in the world (Thomas Keller) goes on to open his own resturant and win numerous awards. All this happens before he's barely over 30 and then he finds out he has tongue cancer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 11/12/2013

    " I have a new appreciation for fine dining after reading this book. I always enjoy stories about other creative professionals, glimpsing the challenges they face to continually create new ideas. My foodie antennae got turned up a few notches with this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tatiana | 10/21/2013

    " This is a fascinating story about food, creativity, and the restaurant industry. Achatz's account of dealing with cancer (both horrifying and inspiring) makes it a unique book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darryl | 5/10/2013

    " Great book, as a chef and as a human this story inspires me to push no! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 4/10/2013

    " Amazing. Doesn't matter what you're doing, if you're are looking for inspiration, pick this book up. Finished the nearly 400 pages in two days. You wont be disappointed. If you are, Im sorry in advance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christopher | 1/21/2013

    " Interesting memoir of a most driven chef. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amit | 12/4/2012

    " If you ever wondered what Beethoven must have felt on realizing he was losing his hearing then read this book. Though the book is about a chef and his quest for excellence, his passion, obsession and methods are universally applicable and gives anyone a preview of what it takes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate F. | 8/20/2012

    " Shockingly frank and totally fascinating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 3/8/2012

    " Amazing read, I am obsessed :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susanne Dryer | 1/31/2012

    " Chef Grant Achatz' amazing story of trials and successes - makes you wish cooking was an Olympics sport so you could cheer for all the chefs who put their souls into their art. Must go to Alinea! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 11/18/2011

    " I enjoyed the story, but Chef could've used a ghost writer. It took a while for me to get into it because I found his literary voice to be annoying. I still recommend it if you're a fan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 4/28/2011

    " I loved this book, what an inspiration Grant is, he just never gave up to live his dream despite the tragic events in his life. I must go to his restaurant! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Felicity | 4/26/2011

    " The story will always be fascinating. Achatz' writing is very much like I'd expect him to be in person -- spare, driven, and non-emotional. This isn't a typical "My life as a badass chef" books, but it is profoundly engaging. I read it, essentially, in a day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacy | 4/25/2011

    " Halfway through - LOVE it. It is a great "foodies" book - "Kitchen Confidential" much less dark. Looking forward to finishing it. And really enjoying the culinary education. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Red | 4/18/2011

    " This is an amazing story of courage in the face of devastating illness, and the dream of one young chef to create the restaurant of his dreams... "

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