Thomas Keller, one of the most inventive American chefs working
today, is as renowned for his well-honed culinary skills as he is for
his ability to establish a restaurant that's both relaxed yet
Good food coupled with a memorable social and sensual experience has
always been Keller's focus. "Our food is serious," says Keller, "but we
also want people to have a good time with it." If the reputations of his
restaurants are any indication, he has succeeded.
A native of California, Keller began his culinary career at a young
age, working in the Palm Beach restaurant managed by his mother. After
serving apprenticeships in Rhode Island, Florida, and the Catskills,
Keller relocated to France in 1983, where he worked in several
Michelin-starred houses including Guy Savoy and Taillevent. He followed
with successful runs at La Reserve and Restaurant Raphael in New York.
In 1986, he opened his first restaurant, Rakel, also in New York, which
resulted in extensive critical acclaim and a loyal clientele.
Five years later, Keller moved westward to California to work as
executive chef at Checkers Hotel in Los Angeles. In 1994, he opened The
French Laundry in Yountville, which quickly became a destination
restaurant known for its innovative, compelling cuisine. His bistro,
Bouchon, opened in Yountville in 1998, with Bouchon Bakery following
five years later.
In February 2004, Keller brought his distinct style to New York City
with Per Se. The restaurant features Keller's French-influenced
contemporary American cuisine presented in a classically elegant space,
designed by premier restaurant/hotel designer Adam Tihany.
A man of exceptionally high personal standards, Keller values genuine
collaboration. Having assembled staffs with equally high standards and
expertise within all of his enterprises, he has been able to concentrate
on many interests. Keller is the author of the award-winning "The French
Laundry" cookbook, and released his second book "Bouchon," in November
2004. He has collaborated with Raynaud and the design firm Level on a
collection of simple, sophisticated white porcelain dinnerware called
Point, (in homage to the great French chef and restaurateur, Fernand
Point) and has created Modicum, a Napa Valley Cabernet; vintage 2000,
blended to best accompany the cuisine at The French Laundry and Per
In 2001, Keller was named "America's Best Chef" by Time Magazine and
World Master of Culinary Arts by a panel of international judges at the
Wedgwood Awards. He was the 2004 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement
Award from the Food Allergy Initiative. He has collected many accolades
within the last decade, including consecutive "Best Chef" awards from
the James Beard Foundation, the first chef ever to achieve this honor.
In 2003, The French Laundry was at the top of "The World's 50 Best
Restaurants" list published by London based Restaurant Magazine. In
2004, Per Se was honored with a 4-star rating from the New York Times;
and has since been heralded in top publications such as Gourmet, Food
and Wine, and New York Magazine. Per Se was also deemed "Best new
restaurant of the year" by Restaurant Magazine.
The Michelin Guide New York City gave Per Se its most prestigious
recognition, a three star rating, in both 2006 and 2007. The French
Laundry was additionally awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide San
Francisco for 2007, making Thomas Keller the only American-born Chef to
hold multiple three star ratings.
Chef Keller now has eight restaurant properties in the United States.
In addition to The French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon, branches of
Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery opened in Las Vegas in 2004. In early 2006,
Bouchon Bakery opened at the Time Warner Center in New York City. Most
recently, Ad Hoc, a casual dining establishment inspired by the comfort
food Keller enjoyed growing up, opened in Yountville, California.