Not too many men facing a life-threatening disease would readily forgo a half-million dollars in cash. But not many men are Grant Achatz, and his cookbook deal, which Serious Eats describes in great detail today, inspires as much admiration in us as his battle against tongue cancer. As a big-shot chef, it would have been easy for Achatz to take a giant advance and produce a ghostwritten cookbook, pregnant with food-porn images, that would rest on the coffee tables of Chicagoland burghers for years to come. But the same originality that made Alinea what it is is at play in his cookbook endeavor: Achatz has worked a deal where the cookbook will be the gateway to an ongoing, dynamic Web resource, and in lieu of an advance, he and his co-author will get a big cut of sales. It’s brave and original and makes us want to pull for him even more than we did.
Grant Achatz is rewriting the cookbook.haha Photo: Patrick McMullan