The Chef Who Lost His Sense Of Taste

Award-winning Chef Grant Achatz lost his sense of taste to tongue cancer.

If you didn’t catch Chef Grant Achatz on Fresh Air, the interview is worth a listen. The award-winning chef and co-founder of Alinea restaurant in Chicago is known for his inventive menu:

A typical 23-course meal at Chicago’s Alinea restaurant might include olive oil lollipops, sweet potatoes skewered by smoking cinnamon sticks, strips of bacon hanging from a stainless steel bow, and pheasant tempura-fried with apple cider, impaled on a flaming oak leaf.

But in 2007, when diagnosed with stage 4 tongue cancer, Chef Achatz lost his ability to taste.

“It was very strange to not be able to discern any flavor at all,” he says. “It’s funny because, clearly, you know you have to eat to live. But even knowing that, for me, there was no reason to eat. I had no interest in eating whatsoever. I would put something in my mouth — say a vanilla milkshake — and it tasted like nothing.”

His cancer is currently in remission and he eventually regained his sense of taste. Of the whole experience, he says it was educational. “I don’t recommend it, but I think it made me a better chef because now I really understand how flavor works.”

Read more about Chef Achatz and an excerpt from his memoir Life, on the Line and listen back to the Fresh Air interview here.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Food

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s