Originally Posted by ChicagoRon
If nothing else, he shared his source for hand-harvested lake Michigan steelhead trout roe.
As I said - I liked it. YMMV, but I thought the three main themes (Evolution of his cooking style, birth of his partnership, and overcoming his cancer) were each developed pretty well. I'm not sure one should expect to take anything out of such a book beyond entertainment, and I was entertained.
I definitely liked it but that's because I am so interested in the subject matter.
My off the cuff criticisms would be:
-The back and forth between him and Kokonas, where the font changes depending on who is writing, is kind of wierd. Not sure it really works.
-They definitely could have skipped reprinting those long emails and investor updates. I don't need to know the precise details about how the moldings were installed at Alinea.
-I guess they are both really accomplished and have lived great lives but reading about how great they are gets kind of tiresome. I don't have any great advice about how high achievers/rich people can write interestingly about how awesome/rich they are so maybe I should be more understanding but I felt that if there is a line they crossed it too much.
-I get the impression often that Achatz is holding way back, not telling the full story because to do so would make him look bad. That comes through especially in the case of his marriage to Angela and the way he left Trio. The stories just don't really add up or cohere. It reminds me of Eat, Pray, Love
(which, no, I did not read all the way through) where Gilbert is totally vague about why she got divorced, the reason almost certainly being because the truth makes her look bad. Also, the way his CdC left, just quit during service one night, is not explained at all. The facts as given don't make the CdC look bad except for that one act so I am left to assume that Achatz really drove him to it, but won't say so or why.
-The cancer stuff was ... well, it was what it was. I am aware that there is a whole genre of cancer memoirs and I never read any of them until now and I don't expect I will again. The extent to which he lived because he is famous and could get same day appointments with the world's most famous doctors does come through rather clearly.
The book definitely made me want to go to the restaurant, which I was lukewarm on before reading it. But it also made me appreciate the Keller style more, which is closer what I love and what I try to do. Achatz actually makes the difference between his style and Keller's style crystal clear, which is also IMO the difference between more traditional (we can say that now) Nouvelle Cuisine and cutting edge stuff whether you call it molecular gastronomy (a term that Achatz rejects) or something else. That lesson alone makes the book worth it.