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On Alinea's Grant Achatz, Tongue Cancer, Taste Buds

The New Yorker gives Alinea chef Grant Achatz the usual treatment for this week's profile. It reveals more than any previous piece about Achatz's battle with tongue cancer, how it emerged over the past four years, and how he has dealt with losing his sense of taste. But it also touches upon the influences of Ferran Adrià and Thomas Keller, Alinea's preview week slam from one Mr. Frank Bruni, and Achatz's one-time plan for a restaurant in New York. It's worth devoting a lunch break to:

"...Achatz was unable to taste anything. He told me this story while we were sitting upstairs at Alinea. I asked him what this loss felt like. He stopped talking, put down his container of Lidocaine, and placed his hands over his eyes—it was like being blind. He explained, 'You make yourself a vanilla milkshake. Grab some Häagen-Dazs vanilla, add whole milk. You think you know what it’s going to taste like, and it tastes like nothing. All you get is thick texture. You get vanilla because you can smell it, but there’s no sweetness. It’s bizarre.'"
· A Man of Taste [New Yorker]

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