Who is Thomas Keller? Why is he so important to Culinary world? Thomas Keller is considered to be one of the top chef in culinary world today. An adventurous, hard-working, quick learner, manager, businessman and a cookbook writer. Many people support him and believe him as a greatest chef in the kitchen. At present he is working towards the opening Bouchon restaurant in Tokyo, Japan in 2013. Keller, a restaurateur, was born in the town of Pendleton in Oceanside, California in 1955. His father is a former marine drill sergeant who left his family when he was 5 years old. On his teens, Keller learned how to cook from his mother while working at the Palm Beach restaurant she managed. Keller started his profession as a dishwasher and quickly moving up to cook.
When he was 22, a French Master Chef named, Ronald Henin, his mentor, showed the real task of being a chef, and nurturing people-making them happy. He described when you nurturing a people it brings him pleasure as a human being in every smile of a guest about his cooking. He also mention his brother as the earliest mentor, Josef Keller, who is the chef and the owner of the restaurant “Josef” in Las Vegas, who gave inspiration to cooking. With no professional training and culinary experience, he moved to France and served apprentices in Michelin-starred restaurant.
By the early 1980’s he was working in New York City where he gained national recognition at La Reserve and Restaurant Raphael as chef de cuisine. After several years as a executive chef, Keller opened his first restaurant in 1994 at Yountville, California named “The French Laundry”. The old century building was built in 1900 and has 62 seat capacity with elegant interior and surrounding gardens. The food is mainly French with contemporary American influences and served two different nine course tasting menus. Later that year, he opened other restaurant Per Se and Bouchon Bakery in New York and Ad Hoc in California.
Thomas Keller has several different lines of philosophies related to cuisine. He believes in what he calls “The law of diminishing returns.” He explains that during the first few bites, flavors kicked in before flavor saturation and palate fatigue sets in. He also talked about the flavor profiles or compositions of foods, each dish had so many components, and there were steps upon required to layer the flavor and texture. The French Laundry garden has a 3 acre land located across the street to supplies Keller’s restaurant in the area, the menu is composed of 100% organic vegetable and herbs.
Another part of his philosophy is the contribution, he explained that it might take a young chef to train up to three months to increase the speed and figure out “who they are and how they’ll develop in the restaurant.”, once they know the style, their ideas and opinions are encouraged. He also wants a young chef with highly motivated, capability, great skill and ambition to his restaurant. And last, the constant evolution, Keller wants to give emotional ownership of his restaurant to the staff and have them embrace that restaurant as if it were part of their own.
“Teamwork” is one of the reason why is Thomas Keller became a successful chef in this world. The dining team, the kitchen team, the restaurant team are part of this dynamic. Being close together as a team and work hard they can achieve a goal and helped build the reputation of the restaurant. Another part is creating kitchen organization, he explained that organization give a maximum productivity and high degree of responsibility to maintaining quality of food ensuring consistency.
He insists that the secret to his success is not talent but hard work and an obsessive dedication to detail. Thomas Keller was awarded the best chef in California in 1996 and the Best Chef in America in 1997 by James Beard Foundation. As Ruth Reichl (1997) stated “ The French Laundry, the most exciting restaurant in America.” On food critic of the “The New York Times.” In 2005, his New York Restaurant Per Se received three Michelin Stars. In 2003 and 2004, The French Laundry was awarded as a “Best Restaurant in the World” and received three Michelin stars. That made Keller the only American chef to hold two Michelin three-star ratings.
I love this video because it was easy to understand how Thomas Keller became a famous from dishwasher to celebrity chef. The story of Thomas Keller video supplies a full course of culinary education and deserves a place in every cook’s kitchen. I also found interesting recipes online that I thought I’ve had a private cooking lesson from the chef. The most interesting part at this video when French Laundry restaurant serve two different nine-course tasting menu and none of which uses the same ingredient more than once. The video also shows how mainly use fresh quality ingredients from the garden, the style and technique of cooking, a course or dishes with its own unique style was probably the most artfully presented and well prepared which things should be appealing to the eyes as well as the palate. For me, a Thomas Keller video gives a world of information, discovery and an inspirational to all young chef or old chef to experience a new ideas, explore great minds and experience great art.