|Birth Day:||October 14, 1955|
|Birth Place:||Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, California, United States, United States|
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After returning to America in 1984, he was hired as chef de cuisine at La Reserve in New York, before leaving to open Rakel in early 1987. Rakel's refined French cuisine catered to the expensive tastes of Wall Street executives and received a two-star review from The New York Times. Its popularity waned as the stock market bottomed out and at the end of the 1980s, Keller left, unwilling to compromise his style of cooking to simple bistro fare.
Prior to the opening of The French Laundry, Thomas Keller started a small olive oil company called EVO, Inc. in 1992, with his girlfriend of the time, to distribute Provençal-style olive oil and red wine vinegar. Recently, Keller started marketing a line of signature white Limoges porcelain dinnerware by Raynaud called Hommage Point (in homage to French chef and restaurateur, Fernand Point) that he helped design and a collection of silver hollow ware by Christofle. He has also attached his name to a set of signature knives manufactured by MAC.
Following the split with his partner at Rakel, Keller took various consultant and chef positions in New York and Los Angeles. In the spring of 1992 he came upon an old French steam laundry in Yountville, California that had been converted to a restaurant. He spent nineteen months raising $1.2 million from acquaintances and investors to purchase the restaurant, then opened in 1994. Over the next few years the restaurant earned numerous awards, including from the James Beard Foundation, gourmet magazines, the Mobil Guide (five stars), and the Michelin Guide (three stars).
After the success of The French Laundry, Thomas and his brother, Joseph Keller (currently owner/chef of Josef's in Las Vegas), opened Bouchon in 1998. Located down the street from The French Laundry, it serves moderately priced French bistro fare, with Bouchon Bakery opening next door a few years later (in 2006 Keller opened a branch of the bakery in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan). Keller has joked in the past that the motivation for Bouchon's opening was to give him somewhere to eat after work at The French Laundry. On January 26, 2004, Keller opened his restaurant Bouchon in Las Vegas. On February 16, 2004, Keller's much-anticipated Per Se restaurant opened in the Time Warner Center complex in New York under the helm of Keller's Chef de Cuisine, Jonathan Benno. Per Se, which was designed from scratch and custom-built as part of the overall construction process, was an immediate hit on the New York restaurant scene, with reservations booked months in advance and publications including The New Yorker and The New York Times giving rave reviews. The latest restaurant, "ad hoc", opened in September 2006 in Yountville with a different fixed price comfort food dinner served family style every night. Originally intended to be a temporary project while Keller planned his lifelong dream restaurant for the location, serving hamburgers and wine, he decided to make ad hoc permanent and find a new location for the hamburger restaurant due to its overwhelming popularity.
In 1999, Thomas Keller published The French Laundry Cookbook, which he considers his definitive book on cuisine. That year it won three International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) awards for Cookbook of the Year, Julia Child "First Cookbook" Award, and Design Award. In 2004 he published "The Bouchon Cookbook," although he gives most of the credit to Bouchon chef Jeffrey Cerciello. Other cookbooks that he has written or contributed are The Food Lover's Companion to the Napa Valley, Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide, Ad Hoc at Home (2009) and Bouchon Bakery (2012). He provided an introduction or foreword to The Vineyard Kitchen: Menus Inspired by the Seasons by Maria Helm Sinskey, "Happy in the Kitchen" by Michel Richard, "Indulge: 100 Perfect Desserts" by Claire Clark (head pastry chef at The French Laundry), the new publication of "Ma Gastronomie" by Fernand Point, "Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing" by Micheal Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. He is also featured in "My Last Supper" by Melanie Dunea
Keller is the president of the Bocuse d'Or U.S. team and was responsible for recruiting and training the 2009 candidates. The former French Laundry Chef de Cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth won the Bocuse d'Or USA semi-finals in 2008, and represented the U.S. in the world finals in January 2009 under Keller's supervision where he placed 6th, equaling the best performance of the U.S. in the contest to date. On describing his reasons for accepting the Bocuse d'Or Team USA presidency, Keller stated, "When Chef [Paul] Bocuse calls you on the phone and says he’d like you to be president of the American team, you say, ‘Oui, chef’. He's the role model, the icon".
In April 2009, Keller became engaged to longtime girlfriend and former general manager at the French Laundry, Laura Cunningham.
In 2012 he announced he was at the point of his career when it was time to step away from the kitchen. The important thing, he said, is to make sure to give to young chefs the right things, the right mentoring because "if we're not truly working to raise the standards of our profession, then we're not really doing our job."
Currently, Thomas Keller is 65 years, 9 months and 11 days old. Thomas Keller will celebrate 66th birthday on a Thursday 14th of October 2021.
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