Few chefs have had as much continued success in the restaurant industry, and no chef has singlehandedly more of turned their restaurants into a household name than Thomas Keller. Of course, before he gained fame as one of the world’s premier chefs, Thomas had to start in his mother’s restaurant, filling in whenever one of her cooks got sick, and his early experience served him well when he opened the now-legendary French Laundry in California in 1994.
Over the next 11 years, The French Laundry received a slew of awards (including three Michelin stars, the “Best Restaurant in the World” title from Restaurant magazine in 2003 and 2004, and a Mobil Travel Guide five-star award from 1999-2004), as did its owner. Thomas has been named “America’s Best Chef” (Time magazine, 2001), “Chef of the Year” (Bon Appetit magazine, 2001), “Best American Chef” (James Beard Foundation, 1996), and an induction into the Culinary Hall of Fame.
In 2004, Thomas opened Per Se in New York City, and the awards and reviews for Per Se indicate that it is well on its way to becoming a legendary restaurant in the same way as The French Laundry.
Specialties & Resources
Thomas’ cooking is rooted in traditional French cuisine with hints of contemporary American influences. The menu at Per Se changes daily, and as if to prove his mastery of the art of cooking, Thomas has a personal commitment to never repeat the same ingredient twice in his tasting menu. Today’s menu includes such offerings as Mediterranean lubina with glazed celtuce, celeriac cream and meyer lemon confit, charcoal-grilled miyazaki wagyu with cherry tomatoes, cocktail artichokes, arugula pesto and olive oil mousseline, and Hokkaido sea scallops with sweet carrots, wilted arrowleaf spinach and “sauce hydromel.”
At The French Laundry, Thomas issues himself the same challenge: a new menu every day, and no repeated ingredients throughout. Today’s menu at The French Laundry includes Gulf Coast cobia with wild arctic char roe, little farm artichokes, garden cucumbers and crème fraiche, kurobuta pork jowl with bosc pears, celery root puree, whole grain mustard and bacon gastrique, herb-roasted lamb with roasted carrots, preserved meyer lemon, poached sultanas, pea shoots and marcona almond jus, and honeycomb tripe stewed in tomatoes, olive oil and oreganata bread crumbs.