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Life Line Chasing Greatness Redefining

Life Line Chasing Greatness Redefining

From one point of view it's tempting to think of Grant Achatz as someone who has been very lucky. But on reflection it's quite clear that luck has had relatively little to do with his successes. Here's a guy who knew what he wanted to do and put forth the drive, ambition, skill, and pure unending WORK needed to achieve his goals.

His story is very well written and makes a very enjoyable read. I teared up a bit several times, from both the lows and the highs.

The events in this book could describe a very successful and complete life if they applied to anyone else, but Chef Achatz comes out at the end only in his mid-30s, with a foundation that will let him achieve whatever he can imagine in the future. While some people may indeed burn out twice as fast by "burning the candle at both ends", Grant Achatz is proof that if you work twice as hard, you may simply achieve twice as much.

Cook's memoirs are a dime-a-dozen these days, but this is a book that transcends the genre and will be enjoyed by everyone.

An easy five stars.

This review is based on the Kindle edition, and from also looking at the physical book in person there are hardly any illustrations in the book so you're not missing anything if you choose to go the Kindle route.

Another reviewer commented about the confusing switch back and forth between the points of view of Grant and his business partner Nick once they meet and start working on the building of Alinea. Pretty much if you see a break in the text then the POV is switching, but you have to read a paragraph or three before you're really sure who is speaking. It would have been much smoother if they had simply inserted the name of whoever was picking up the story each time there was a shift. It's mentally confusing to start reading and then discover you're not hearing the person you thought you were, requiring a quick mental rewind and re-process. But if you've read one of these reviews then you'll be expecting it and it doesn't really detract from the experience of reading.

G.

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10 Responses to “West Shops”

  • Chester Stout says:

    I would never have chosen this book on my own (even though I live near Chicago) but read it for our book group. Loved the story and seeing behind the scenes of what goes into opening up a restaurant. Oh yeah, it also made me want to eat at Next.

  • Claude Odonnell says:

    From one point of view it's tempting to think of Grant Achatz as someone who has been very lucky. But on reflection it's quite clear that luck has had relatively little to do with his successes. Here's a guy who knew what he wanted to do and put forth the drive, ambition, skill, and pure unending WORK needed to achieve his goals.

    His story is very well written and makes a very enjoyable read. I teared up a bit several times, from both the lows and the highs.

    The events in this book could describe a very successful and complete life if they applied to anyone else, but Chef Achatz comes out at the end only in his mid-30s, with a foundation that will let him achieve whatever he can imagine in the future. While some people may indeed burn out twice as fast by "burning the candle at both ends", Grant Achatz is proof that if you work twice as hard, you may simply achieve twice as much.

    Cook's memoirs are a dime-a-dozen these days, but this is a book that transcends the genre and will be enjoyed by everyone.

    An easy five stars.

    This review is based on the Kindle edition, and from also looking at the physical book in person there are hardly any illustrations in the book so you're not missing anything if you choose to go the Kindle route.

    Another reviewer commented about the confusing switch back and forth between the points of view of Grant and his business partner Nick once they meet and start working on the building of Alinea. Pretty much if you see a break in the text then the POV is switching, but you have to read a paragraph or three before you're really sure who is speaking. It would have been much smoother if they had simply inserted the name of whoever was picking up the story each time there was a shift. It's mentally confusing to start reading and then discover you're not hearing the person you thought you were, requiring a quick mental rewind and re-process. But if you've read one of these reviews then you'll be expecting it and it doesn't really detract from the experience of reading.

    G.

  • Olive Workman says:

    I have read a lot of chef stories and this one hit me harder than most. Not because of Chef Achatz's physically and emotionally painful bout with cancer, but because of the raw intensity of his passion. A must read for those who love this genre.

  • Reva Dillard says:

    I love memoirs of any kind and this book is great! I love to cook and have always been curious about how great chefs think, and this book is very well written. Kudos to Grant Atchez for sharing his life, the good and the difficult!

  • Keith James says:

    As a seven night a week restaurant goer but not especially a fan of molecular cooking I was very curious about the Chef and the way he thinks. The book answers all of that in a beautifully written manner. The juxtaposed telling of the story by Achatz's business partner was brilliantly handeled. I loved the book and have given it to several of my favorite chefs who will likely feel the same way. It seems brutally honest and as a result completely believeable.

  • Chris Ellison says:

    Behind the allure of Alinea, an intangible experience for many normal Americans, lies the story of Grant Achatz.

    His story is moving, witty, driven, and honest (with a hint of that chef ego that we all know is there). It doesn't pretend to be something it isn't, and opens up a world of food that would otherwise go unilluminated to the general public.

    I am thankful for the experience of reading this book. It was a great read.

    Oh, and I'm thankful that someone slipped a phonetically-correct definition of Achatz into the book. That did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. After mainly reading about Chef Achatz online, I was grateful for that small formality.

  • Ryan Rollins says:

  • Daisy Merrill says:

    Life on the Line moves from the towering ambitions of career-driven guys in their 20s to the overpowering fear of death from late stage cancer. If these two plots don't interest you and you have no interest in restaurant food, you may be part of the minority that finds this book dull in places. It's still a satisfying story that turns out great in the end.

    The discussions of career growth in the restaurant business sound like resume bullet points, and leave out a key factor in development. As in other chef's stories, lowly prep cooks must concentrate on slicing, and they get chewed out for slight mistakes in knife work. In this environment, they're supposed to be learning about shape, form and texture.

    The more experienced line cooks' mistakes don't get much coverage. But their day-to-day training must be intense, too. This training meant Chef Grant Achatz' restaurant Alinea could continue to prosper and develop new dishes even after the Chef lost his sense of taste to cancer. He superbly trained his team. The reader might also guess that the team was selected for exquisite palate sensitivity in the first place.

    Few people in the restaurant business get rich or famous, but many of them make our lives richer and more interesting. This story helped me appreciate some of the legions of quiet experts who make America great.

  • Jolene Hernandez says:

    By the age of 32 Grant Achatz, chef/owner of Alinea, had achieved his dream of having the best restaurant in American and, along the way, had completely redefined not only the dining experience but how we think about food and eating. In this book, Chef Achatz, along with Nick Kokonas (his business partner in Alinea and a first-time restaurateur), describes the path he took to reach his goal. If the story ended there, it would be an amazing story of hard work and sacrifice coupled with sheer genius and the audacity to succeed at all costs. The story takes a totally different turn when Chef Achatz is diagnosed with stage IV cancer of the tongue and is faced with the heart-rending choice of risking his sense of taste, and with it his livelihood and identity as a chef, in an attempt to save his life.

    Though it sounds cliche, this book transcends genre and audience. For those interested in cooking and the life of a chef, it ranks alongside the works of Michael Ruhlman and Anthony Bourdain as the best in the genre. As a business book, it is a tremendous inspiration for the budding entrepreneur (or for a successful businessperson who is in the midst of doubt) and shows the power of making an audacious goal then driving forward to reach it. Above all it is the story of the extraordinary life of an extraordinary person as he strives to grow, succeed, live, and love. Chef Achatz has shown that he holds himself (and his staff) to the highest standards, and this book does not disappoint in any way. In short, the best book I've read in a very long time. Very highly recommended.

  • Clarence Patterson says:

    I read this book in two days, i couldnt put it down. I am a cook myself and love to hear stories from the greats on the roads they traveled.This should be a mandatory read for all culinary students. Inspiring, heart wrenching, and overall great to read.

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