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Life, on the Line - Grant Achatz


abadoozy
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Anyone have a copy of this yet?

I'm trying to decide whether to order the real book, or get it on the Kindle. Part of the decision process is whether or not there's a lot of pictures or graphs - they tend not to translate well to the Kindle. A few pictures, fine. Lots & lots? I'll spring for the hard copy.

Amazon doesn't have "Search inside" for this one. Can anyone help?

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I ended up getting the Kindle edition and, like daisy17, read it in 2 days. Pretty good read, though I found it a little light. Would have preferred something a bit more detailed, but I'm sure we all would have!

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I also read it in 2 days. Totally fantastic. Extremely well written (even more surprising coming from 2 non-authors) and riveting. My admiration and appreciation for Chef Achatz has grown immensely which I didn't think possible. I'm thankful that he and Nick managed to find each other. Even better that I was able to get my book signed today!

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I also read it in 2 days. Totally fantastic. Extremely well written (even more surprising coming from 2 non-authors) and riveting. My admiration and appreciation for Chef Achatz has grown immensely which I didn't think possible. I'm thankful that he and Nick managed to find each other. Even better that I was able to get my book signed today!

Interesting - I'd assumed they used a ghost writer, but apparantly not.

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I think as with food if you go into this book expecting one thing you might be disappointed. But if you go into this book as to get insight on how one deals with life's myriad of situations, you will be more than sated.

Edited by Jeffery C (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I haven't read it all; I've dropped in here and there after a friend pointed out that eG Forums gets a couple of prominent mentions. Based on that partial reading, I think it's better written than one might expect from two non-writers.

John Mariani made his feelings known the other day. In an Esquire blog post -- it's not really a review; in fact I'm not sure what to call it, as Life, On the Line is paired with Modernist Cuisine in what seems to be an excuse for Mariani to vent:

Achatz has had no influence on anyone's cooking at all, unless I'm missing scores of young cooks out there hanging limp bacon from silver clotheslines.

This is after calling Achatz "insufferable," but prior to calling Alinea "Rocky Horror Picture Show: The Restaurant." This bile apparently stems from Kokonas' claim (p. 270) that Mariani used one of Alinea's four custom-made stainless steel wine lists as a notebook while dining there, and took it with him when he left. Mariani did not include Alinea in his subsequent "Best New" list that year; he says that he believes that Kokonas made the story up as revenge, concluding "Perhaps the book should have been called Life, on a Lie."

Ouch.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I found the book a little slow to get off the ground but ultimately well worth reading. The discussions of business aspects of the restaurant were very interesting and I would have welcomed more.

The NPR interview is great-- thanks for the link.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I agree Aaron, I found the book worse than light, I couldn't finish it.

It got off to a great start, and was consistent with the chef memoir of tracing the evolution of the child to master cook route. A great read and generally good pacing. But then, inexplicably, the book pops in Kokonas' lame observations (which are mostly fawning of Achetz and recounting his own boring past as a financial playah) and worse, lame emails and copies of the investor packs sent out for Alinea. It also, inexcusably, has awful B&W photos that are useless. Why include those?

All of this brought the book to a screeching halt for me and I just couldn't find the interest or energy to finish it (though, I still might, because I do want to learn more about Achetz's recovery from stage-four cancer).

I also find his good to be gimmicky and over-thought. And it ain't cheap.

I'm not impressed. Sorry Grant.

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Overall, I enjoyed it. Quick vacation read that is intriguing but doesn't require a lot of brainpower. I agree that Kokonas' thoughts were useless. I was fascinated by what Grant had to say about eGullet challenging the way he thought about food. I felt like it justified the inordinate amount of time I spend on here.

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I expected a book largely about recovering from cancer and was very pleasantly surprised to read a book about a chef living his passion, with cancer just one piece of a very compelling journey. Perhaps because I'm a recent culinary school graduate, Life, on the Line was a book I had a hard time putting down.

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  • 1 month later...

I thought it was beautiful. It wasn't precisely what I expected, and that was great. My respect for Grant Achatz is tremendous. And I'm even less inclined to visit Charlie Trotter's than I was before.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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