Thomas KellerChef and Proprietor at Per Se and The French Laundry
Thomas Keller’s name is synonymous with quality and high standards. The chef and proprietor of The French Laundry, in Napa Valley, and Per Se, in New York, among other restaurants, he is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide, as well as the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France.
Chef Keller has earned countless accolades, including The Culinary Institute of America’s Chef of the Year award and the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurateur awards. In 2001, Time magazine named him America’s best chef. In 2017, Chef Keller led a team from the United States to its first-ever gold medal in the Bocuse d’Or, a prestigious biannual competition that is regarded as the Olympics of the culinary world.
Chef Keller began his culinary career in his teens as a dishwasher in the Palm Beach restaurant managed by his mother. In 1983, he moved to France, where he apprenticed in several Michelin-starred houses. He opened his first restaurant, Rakel, in New York City in 1986, before relocating to California to serve as executive chef at the Checkers Hotel in Los Angeles. In 1994, Chef Keller took ownership of The French Laundry in Yountville, and soon brought it to national and worldwide acclaim. Chef Keller’s French bistro, Bouchon, debuted in 1998, followed by Bouchon Bakery five years later. Both are within walking distance of The French Laundry. Since then, Chef Keller has opened outposts of Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery in New York City and Las Vegas. His two other Yountville restaurants are family-style Ad Hoc + Addendum, and La Calenda, a Mexican restaurant, where Chef Kaelin Ulrich Trilling leads the culinary program. In 2017, Chef Keller opened Bouchon Bakeries in the Middle East with partner M.H. Alshaya Co. and continues to introduce new dining experiences to guests in that region. In the summer of 2018, Chef Keller opened The Surf Club Restaurant, in Surfside, Florida, celebrating Continental cuisine. In March 2019, he launched TAK Room, in New York City.
Chef Keller is the author of five cookbooks, with more than 1.3 million copies in circulation. Known for his leadership, he has assembled a team that shares his philosophy in his restaurants, enabling him also to concentrate on interests outside the kitchen, including his Napa Valley wine label with Laura Cunningham, Modicum, as well as a Yountville-based magazine, Finesse, and retail outpost of the same name. Chef Keller has embarked on several innovative partnerships. In his newest collaborations, Chef Keller partnered with Armando Manni, an acclaimed olive oil producer, to develop a line of chocolates, K+M Extravirgin Chocolate, that is revolutionizing bean-to-bar chocolate production with its proprietary method of boosting antioxidant levels. He has also partnered with Shaoching Bishop to launch Regiis Ova, the ultimate caviar experience.
Chef Keller cofounded Cup4Cup, a line of gluten-free flour blends and mixes that substitutes for all-purpose flour in home recipes. Chef Keller collaborates with Cangshan Knives and Hestan Commercial on design. Together with restaurant designer Adam D. Tihany, he created K+T, a collection of silver hardware and cocktail ware for Christofle silversmiths. Chef Keller’s collaboration with Raynaud and design firm Level has led to a sophisticated collection of white porcelain dinnerware called Hommage. Chef Keller also consulted on the films Spanglish and Ratatouille, the latter winning in the 2007 Best Animated Feature Film category at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.