Thomas Keller is a highly acclaimed, wildly successful chef based in Yountville, California but operating throughout the United States. He is a self-made success in the culinary industry whose tenacious pursuit of excellence and unwillingness to compromise has brought him from humble origins to the top tier of American chefs and restaurateurs.
He was born on October 14th, 1955 to a military family in Oceanside, CA at Camp Pendleton. Although born in California, it was during his teenage years in Palm Beach, Florida where he first became interested in cooking and got his start in the kitchen. During the summertime, he would work at the Palm Beach Yacht Club, which was managed by his mother, Betty Keller, where he started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to a cook. While cooking at the Palm Beach Yacht Club he discovered that cooking was more than just a job for him, it was a passion. Although he worked hard at developing his skills early on, he had no formal training and his cooking was lacking refinement.
Eventually he moved away from Palm Beach and began working summers in Rhode Island where he met his future mentor, the French-born Chef Roland Henin. Soon after making the acquaintance of Roland Henin, he began work at The Dunes Club with Chef Henin teaching him the fundamentals of French cooking. After The Dunes, he moved on to a small Catskill, New York French restaurant, La Rive, where he continued under Henin’s tutelage and learned such skills as curing meats and cooking offal. He stayed at La Rive for three years before moving on to other pursuits in New York and Paris.
The year 1983 saw Keller relocating to Paris, where he spent the next three years working at several Michelin-starred restaurants including Taillevent and Guy Savoy. In 1986, ready for the next level in his career, he opened up his first restaurant, Rakel, in...