Possums, we take a momentary rest from the bitchery and snark to reflect on the evergreen truth that the gods have a twisted sense of humor (and no, we're not referring simply to Lindsay Lohan's arrest this morning).
Rather, our musings are sparked by the sad news that 33-year-old, Chicago-based culinary wunderkind Grant Achatz, of Alinea Restaurant (named best in the nation by Gourmet), and a hero to many a chef and cheftestant (including, natürlich, Marcel Vigneron), has been diagnosed with "an 'advanced stage' of squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth -- a type of head and neck cancer." For a chef to get carcinoma of the mouth seems a cruel joke indeed on the part of the gods. And doctors say that head and neck cancer is quite rare, so even in illness, Chef Achatz is extraordinary.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chef Achatz "will likely begin aggressive treatment within the next few weeks," and we wish him well.
It was Chef Achatz, together with Homaro Cantu, Charlie Trotter and others, who is responsible for Chicago's new-found fame as a culinary hot spot, which in turn led to Bravo's decision to film the fourth season of Top Chef in the City of Big Shoulders and Big Bellies (which we say affectionately, having a soft spot for Chicagoans).
Following its tradition of getting renowned local chefs involved in the show, no doubt Bravo would have tried to get Chef Achatz as a guest judge. We hope Bravo does just that, and that Chef Achatz is well enough to participate.