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Nina C.

Chef Achatz's Cancer in Remission!

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I thought that others might appreciate this warming holiday gift.

Chef Achatz released this statement through his publicist today:

    It is with a tremendous sense of gratitude and relief that I have successfully completed my course of therapy at the University of Chicago. It was incredibly important to me to remain as engaged as possible at Alinea while receiving treatment, and during that time I only missed 14 services. I continue to stand committed to innovating fine dining long into the future.

    At this time I want to thank everyone at Alinea — the staff, investors, and patrons of the restaurant have offered their unwavering commitment and support in ways large and small. The community of restaurants, chefs, and industry professionals who reached out to us was exceptionally gratifying.

    Most of all, I must make special mention of doctors Vokes, Blair, and Haraf at the University of Chicago Medical Center, as well as the countless number of medical professionals and support staff there who cared for me. Where other doctors at prominent institutions saw little hope of a normal life, let alone a cure, these doctors saw an opportunity to think differently, preserve my tongue and taste, and maintain a long term high quality of life. Through the use of a new and rigorous chemotherapy and radiation protocol, they were able achieve a full remission while ensuring that the use of invasive surgery on my tongue was not needed.

    Onward.

via Diner's Journal

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This is fantastic. A very happy holiday, indeed, Chef. Fantastic.

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It is wonderful to hear that they have achieved complete remission for Grant's cancer. I am so thankful.

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Great news, indeed!

And thanks, too, for serving as a reminder to live life to its fullest. After we heard about his diagnosis, we finally decided that all of the things preventing us from getting back to Italy were just "things" that would be here when we got back. Grant was the inspiration we needed and we owe him gratitude for a wonderful, life-affirming trip of culinary delights.

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Man, this warmed my soul today. I can't wait to make my first trip to Alinea and I know Grant will be pushing the boundaries and cooking great food for a long time to come. Most importantly, though, his family gets to have a lighter burden and a little peace in their hearts as they head into a new year.

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Awesome. My sincere best wishes for continued good health to you, Chef! This news was a real holiday heart warmer. All best things to you and yours in the coming new year and beyond!

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The May 12, 2008, issue of the New Yorker magazine has an article on Chef Achatz and the now-in-remission cancer. It even mentions eGullet! Author is someone I'm unfamiliar with, D.T. Max. Some of you may be more familiar with him than I am.

The article was an interesting read, but I really can't comment on accuracy, completeness, etc.

Jenny

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I happened to read that article yesterday while away on vacation. VERY interesting, indeed.

Especially enjoyed Chef Achatz' comments about how his sense of taste gradually returned after chemo: sweet, sour, bitter, etc. As each one returned in time, he was able to really put it together how the different ones worked together, how they affect each other. Normally, we just get all of it at once but his illness allowed him the opportunity to really deconstruct just what it is that happens when we 'Taste' something.

Best of luck and wishes for Chef Achatz' continued health.

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I admire his tenacity While he became Ill with Cancer, I as a Culinary Student just prior to graduation fell ill With AIDS, Cancer (Oral), Pneumonia, A burst Appendix, and a spinal infection.

It seemed as if his tenacity infected me as well. I remember days in which I could not walk a block, climb a flight of stairs, could not eat anything, I went from 220# down to 135 yet one of my fellow Culinary student/neighbors, kept insisting on cooking, he knew it put me in a positive space, and he kept going deer hunting, and showing up with Venison, in need of butchering. I remeber carving that beautiful meat, and crying as with each slice in my mind I was Killing AIDS and Cancer, I just kept going, and MAtt just kept me busy. Somehow when I cook I forget all about the outside world and become one with my projects, that's the beauty of repetitive work, you mind has time to wander, whilst you work.

The trouble was I could not work, just study, be stuck on a meager disability, and read.

So I volunteered, just to keep active, being busy was important to me. I can't fathom not cooking.

During the 1.5 years I went through all of that, I had to write a Thesis, I had an upcoming job working with a former employee of Grant's, knowing full well the challenge ahead of me as the Hotel finished, I chose "Molecular Gastronomy" I came across Grant's work, Writings by Herv'e This, Chef Adria's work. I became obsessed, I bought calcic and began making my own spherical food to test my thesis. I also Landed a position at a Luxury Hotel here in Minneapolis Helmed by an Alumni of Alinea, Josh Habiger as our Chef de Cuisine.

I felt back on my game and challenged by the opportunity to work in an mg kitchen, I doubled my efforts to heal and get an A on that paper; I had three months to absorb before I started that job.

Doing a google search I was struck by Chef Achatz's own crisis, still in the midst of my own and wanting nothing more than to work and keep improving my skills.

Chef Grant you are my hero, you made it through hell and kept going, as did I.

When I finally graduated from college one of my Chef's took time to publicly acknowledge my own tenacity: refusing to quit, being more concerned with Trig, and Culinary Lab work and my Thesis, my experiments to prove the paper and test my own ideas.

Simply put I was put on this earth to be a chef, and nothing, I mean NOTHING will keep me from being in a kitchen. Except if the kitchen insists on playing Jim Neighbors songs :smile:

Thanks Chef Grant for your offering to the culinary world, and for never quitting!

Tim Bates

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