When I heard the news a few months ago that Grant Achatz, chef of Chicago’s Alinea, had developed tongue cancer, I was devastated. I had eaten at Alinea in June and was completely blown away by Achatz’s cuisine. The man is so young, so talented, and (as my wife pointed out), so “hot.” Heh. Anyhow, it was essentially a real-world Shakespearian tragedy to think that this young man, the chef of arguably the best restaurant in the country, had an affliction that might result in the loss of his sense of taste, his tongue, or his life.
Good news! I received the following press release earlier 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, indeed, and congrats Chef G!