Life, on the Line

  • by Grant Achatz, Nick Kokonas
  • Narrated by Johnny Heller
  • 12 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"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)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A Tasteless World?

This narrator did a fantastic job of describing Grant and his trials and tribulations from working his way up at the French laundry to Alina and what he encountered along the way.
As a chef I found the book inspiring enough to want to pick up his cookbook as well as Thomas Keller's. It's also a gentle reminder to us all, not to take anything for granted including our sense of taste.

Some of his creative ideas and food presentations descriptions have given me pause for thought. If you haven't looked up his YouTube video that videos you might do so just to wet your taste buds.

A great story about beating the odds, not accepting no for an answer and delving forth with courage when you think you're all tapped out.

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- Kirsten

Not as good as Grant's Food but a story

I love food and this story was compelling even though not written by writers. For those who aren't foodies, not sure if it would be worth the trip.
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- G. Jones "No Webcrumbs"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-18-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio