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Chef Thomas Keller: "Preparing Myself to Let Go"

An interview with chef Thomas Keller - discussing how American cuisine has changed and the role of the chef in the 21st century

By FDL on

Chef Thomas Keller has had a distinguished career in food - he owns two three Michelin starred restaurants, The French Laundry and Per Se, boasts accolades from some of the most coveted food awards in the industry and this year took home the Lifetime Achievement award at the World's 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in London.

Chef Keller started culinary career as a dish washer in his mum's restaurant - a place he happily says gave him the grounding, foundation and experience needed to start his path in the restaurant industry.

After a long career that's seen him work in kitchens around the world, Keller now sits at the top of his game. With restaurants that range from high-end French cuisine to more relaxed family themed venues and bistros, two bakeries and constant plans in the works, he has become one of the leading restaurateurs in America.

He's featured in two Hollywood movies, helped design tableware and written a number of cookbooks, admitting that he is one of the first generations of chefs to have so many opportunities open to him.

He has been a mentor to some of the greats of this generation, Grant Achatz and Rene Redzepi have both trained in his kitchen, and more recently he joined the Bocuse d'Or as the president of the U.S. team. A role that sees him help to promote American cuisine and the professionals in his industry throughout the world.

We sat down for a revealing interview with chef Keller, discussing how he thinks American cuisine has developed during the 35-years he has worked in the industry, how he sees the chef of the 21st century and how his role in the industry is now shifting towards that of a culinary mentor over the high energy, 80 hour weeks, he spent in hot kitchens for much of his life.

The interview is an honest look at how his career has developed and the work he must now do to leave a lasting legacy, not just in American, but throughout the world.

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