Chefs with Issues: Food for the heart
May 15th, 2012
12:45 PM ET
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Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. Michael Anthony is the chef-partner at New York City's Gramercy Tavern. Last week, he received the James Beard Award for Best Chef NYC - but he almost didn't live to see that day.

In late October of last year, I underwent open heart surgery. There was no warning, no history of disease, no serious abuse that led the inner lining of my ascending aorta to tear. Sometimes things just break.

While attending a signing for the Eleven Madison Park Cookbook, I began experiencing chest pain. As I think anyone else my age (early 40s) would feel in that moment, I was in complete disbelief. I was both embarrassed that I might pass out and concerned that whatever I was experiencing might keep me from celebrating my colleagues’ big moment. After a quick exit, I returned to Gramercy Tavern. I knew something was seriously wrong.

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