I have no patience for full-length biographies but I do like reading profiles of people in newspapers or magazines. This is a good one from the New Yorker: a profile of Grant Achatz, a chef who’s battling tongue cancer.
(If you, like me, immediately thought “Hey, that’s like Beethoven composing music while deaf!”, the analogy crops up in the article itself.)
The food starts off at the savory end of the spectrum, and slowly turns sweeter, concluding with coffee, in the form of crystallized candy. Most items could be eaten in a bite or two, but the procession took four and a half hours. I had liquefied caramel popcorn in a shot glass, and a bean dish that came on a tray with a pillow full of nutmeg-scented air. The plate of beans was placed atop the pillow, forcing the aroma out. I sampled a “honey bush tea foam cascading over vanilla-scented brioche pudding,” in the words of the young man who brought it. There was also a dish centering on a cranberry that had been puréed and then re-formed into its original shape.
It’s an article about life as a chef, about cancer, about food and about how your tongue works. Like a good dish at a gourmet restaurant, you’ll never realise how well they all go together until you see it for yourself.