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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, Nick Kokonas 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:
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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. 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 #1 bestselling restaurant cookbook in America last year.

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Quotes & Awards

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

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Justin | 1/21/2014

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

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About the Author
Author Grant Achatz

Grant Achatz is an award-winning chef and the owner of the restaurant Alinea in Chicago. He won the Rising Star Chef of the Year Award in 2003 and was named Best Chef in the United States in 2008 by the James Beard Foundation. Alinea was named best restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine and was added to Restaurant magazine’s list of top fifty restaurants in the world, eventually making it to number seven. Grant has written for Gourmet and the New York Times Diner’s Journal, and he is a columnist for the Atlantic‘s Food Channel.