The writer D. T. Max has a particular eye for the surprising, emotionally complex details of his subjects’ lives. Since 1997, he has contributed more than forty-five pieces to The New Yorker, on topics as varied as the oeuvre of the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, the career of the curator of London’s Serpentine Gallery, and the rise of the chess star Magnus Carlsen. The author of “The Family That Couldn’t Sleep” and “Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story,” Max skillfully strips away the veneer to capture a fuller sense of the worlds he’s exploring.
Chicago’s Grant Achatz is not the first chef to make me cry. If you are an emotional person (admittedly I am) and you work long enough in the restaurant industry it is guaranteed to happen. But this was not a result of sleep deprivation or a broken heart or a heated argument in a hot and stressful kitchen environment at the end of a dinner rush about how many large parties we can fit in the dining room on a Thursday night in December.
These tears came while reading Life, On the Line, written by Achatz and his business partner, Nick Kokonas, and published last year by Gotham. There are a lot of chef memoirs out there right now, and I’m trying to get through as many as I can. But this one has stuck with me in a way that few memoirs of any kind have. It had been recommended to me by countless friends and I am going to do you the same courtesy. Continue reading →