Grant Achatz has reached the summit of the culinary world with Alinea. But what did it take to put him there?
Grant Achatz moved up the aisle of the plane, his carry-on draped over his gaunt frame. It was October at Reagan National Airport, a rare moment of calm for Chicago's top chef, whose wary eyes belong to a man older than 36, and whose life has been blessed and cursed with incident. He was traveling with his two young sons, and they had just visited with the parents of his girlfriend, food journalist Heather Sperling. They were headed home to Chicago, trudging through the cabin of the plane toward coach, when his younger son, Keller, swung his backpack into a well-dressed man in first class.
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