October 1, 2010

Thomas Keller

Last night some good friends and I went to "a conversation with" Thomas Keller. Yes, that Thomas Keller, of French Laundry, Bouchon, and Ad Hoc. I was a bit star struck I must say! We went to French Laundry back in 2008 for our 25th wedding anniversary, and it was everything they say it is. Very memorable and simply sublime.
I loved the other two books that he wrote, or had a hand in, but I found them to be gorgeous eye candy, and I couldn't justify buying them for a couple reasons, the first one being that they were not recipes, that I could execute at home (the French Laundry one) and two, the Bouchon cookbook, had many recipes, that I already have at home from French cookbooks that I bought while living in France. Then came this one above, "ad hoc." I hadn't planned on buying it, but when my friend asked me if I wanted to go to this, I decided to look up the book and read the reviews. They were very good, and I decided to throw caution into the wind and order it on Amazon. Upon receiving it, I immediately poured through it, and decided that I wanted to make several recipes just by glancing at them. ad hoc , the restaurant, is in Yountville. I have been to both French Laundry and Bouchon Bistro, but I have not yet been to ad hoc. This restaurant is family style, meaning you eat what they are serving that night, no menu. We tried to get in once, when we happened to be over there, and could not get in, so I would love to try again some time. In the mean time, I can use this lovely new book and make some of the yummy things it has to offer.
While we waited they had a slide show of the food served in each of the restaurants, and photos of the interiors as well.
Sorry about the quality of the photo, I didn't bring my giant camera, because of everything else I had to carry. I really enjoyed the format of getting to know Thomas Keller. The man asking the questions was very engaging and brought out Thomas' more playful side. He talked about how he started out, his impressions on everything from buying local, to what it takes to be on top. Nothing stood out more than the story he told about his father, and why he signs the inside of the ad hoc cookbook with, " It's all about family."
His father came to live next door to him back in 2006. He then, shortly after, got in a horrible car accident that left him a quadriplegic.
One spring night, his father asked him to make him his favorite dinner, of barbecue chicken and mashed potatoes, followed by strawberry short cake. He recalled it being a very lovely evening, relaxing out side on the patio and enjoying dinner with his father and some company. The very next day, his father passed away. He said it had been a great honor to cook his father his last meal. That story really got to us! To read a bit more in depth about it, go here.
We stood in line for a bit, had a quick exchange of words with him,then he signed our books; It's all about family.......Thomas Keller.


  1. What a wonderful evening and what a great story about his father. It is all about family and Thomas Keller sounds like someone I'd like to know.

  2. I admire Thomas Keller even more after reading about his father. What a fine evening you had. And I'm extremely jealous that you have dined at the French Laundry--maybe we will, too, next time we are out.

    Hope you'll post some of the recipes you do.

    Thanks for the heads up re the WW recipe.


  3. Is it weird that I'm in awe of the fact you've eaten at both the French Laundry and Bouchon Bistro, (and that you have pomegranate trees?) I really live on the wrong coast.