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    achatz

    Here’s a truly inspiring story about a celebrity chef who beat the odds. Last year, award-winning Chicago chef Grant Achatz was diagnosed with mouth cancer. Doctors said that he may lose his sense of taste. But he took the challenge — going through months of painful therapy and treatment — and in June 2008, was named America’s top chef last night by the James Beard Foundation. “I look at the award as the point of starting over.”

    Achatz says that his training to be a chef — including a gruelling apprenticeship at the French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley — helped him face the cancer with unflinching courage. “That dedication that I took in at that restaurant … it became a part of who I am 12 years later and helped me get through a pretty ridiculous battle.”

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