Last night, over 300 guests showed up to Chicago's Harold Washington Library to have their copies of 'Life, On The Line' signed by Alinea co-authors Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas. The Feast Chicago knows this because by the time they received their queue number for the book line, they were at number 321.
Masses packed in the auditorium for a rare discussion with Achatz and Kokonas hosted by radio personality Eric Fergusen of 101.9 FM. For those vaguely familiar with the world class chef, the discussion offered a fairly comprehensive introduction: his award winning restaurant Alinea, his triumphant battle with cancer, and bringing everyone up to speed with forthcoming concepts Next and The Aviary.
And when you are the chef of one of the world's top rated restaurants with a freshly printed memoir that breaks into the Top 100 on its first day, a killer after-party is in order.
Despite catering from former protégé and current Avenues chef, Curtis Duffy, the event was fairly modest—with attendance limited to 100. That said, Kokonas had a special gift in store for his business partner and friend. What do you get the guy who has everything? If you're Nick Kokonas, you track down and refurbish Achatz's 1970 Pontiac GTO built by hand with his father (complete with emotionally compelling video below). Naturally, Achatz was pretty stunned. It's always fun seeing a calculated person completely and utterly thrown with surprise.
Flip through our slideshow to see highlights from the book signing and after party, including a rare photo of the young, mulleted chef and his original GTO. [The Feast]
Related stories on The Feast:
Class Photo: Alinea
First Look at Grant Achatz's New Book
Grant Achatz Loves a Captive Audience