It was pretty much Christmas on Tuesday for the Seattle Food Geek when Tom Douglas's Palace Ballroom saw the final reveal of Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine--the cinderblock-sized uber-modern "cookbook" that the food world (and the Geek) has been slavering for for months. As Stefon might say, that party had everything: dehydrated pears, exploding chowder, the United States Department of Health, fried chicken, and Myhrvold himself--a one-time computer something-or-other turned hero of pasty and bespectacled white jackets everywhere.
And now, with the clouds of liquid nitrogen barely cleared from the Ballroom, we've gotten word that Douglas' big venue is going to be hosting another of modern cuisine's true luminaries: Grant Achatz.
And he's coming, like, soon.
Obviously, Achatz (and co-author Nick Kokonas) are traveling in support of their new book, Life, on the Line, which is Achatz's memoir about food, cancer, his restaurant, Alinea, and how he somehow managed to convince Americans (or better still, Chicagoans) to pay ridiculous amounts of money to smell lemongrass or eat bacon on a swing.
Don't get me wrong here--I love the guy. I think he is truly one of the mad geniuses of our culinary age. It's just that I can't ever think about the guy without imagining what it must've been like during the first couple weeks of Alinea's existence--when no one knew how to think about the food, let alone eat it.
Here's a brief description of the book:
"In Life on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat (Gotham; March 2011), Achatz and co-author Nick Kokonas, his business partner and close friend, tell the compelling story of Achatz's journey from "chief egg-cracker" at his grandmother's restaurant to Culinary Institute of America student; from frustrated and disappointed line cook under one world-famous chef to eager and valued sous chef under another--Thomas Keller of Napa's French Laundry, who would become his role model and mentor; from transformative executive chef at the four-star Chicago restaurant Trio to trail-blazing chef and co-owner of one of the finest restaurants in the world. Finally, Achatz and Kokonas share the most remarkable part of this already incredible and inspiring life story: Achatz's diagnosis, battle with, and odds-defying recovery from a cancer that could have progressively robbed him of his speech, his palate, and his life."
And, more important, here are the details about the event: Achatz will be at the Palace Ballroom on March 16 to tell his story and pimp his book. Luke Burbank from KIRO-FM will be interviewing both Achatz and Kokonas onstage and leading a Q&A. The event will run from 6-8 p.m., and a $45 GA ticket gets you admission to the event, a glass of wine, some hors d'oeuvres, and a signed copy of the book (which ain't a bad deal). $55 gets you a reserved seat, probably a bit closer to the action, with the extra $10 being donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Myhrvold's event was totally sold out, and tickets for this one are probably going to go fast, too. So if you're interested, get on over to Tom Douglas' website and score yours quick.