August 18, 1999 |
The French Laundry kitchen is a roil of barely controlled activity. Chefs shuffle skillets on hot burners, juggling four or five orders. The passage from the kitchen to the dining room is crowded with waiters coming and going. At the center of it all, tall and taut, stands Thomas Keller, chef, owner and focus of a collective obsession. He has his eye on everyone, and everyone has an eye on him.
August 14, 1994 |
A couple of years ago, Thomas A. Keller was a chef without a kitchen. He had just left Checkers, the elegant downtown hotel where, as executive chef, he had bemused Los Angeles with his daring, highly sophisticated American cooking. While considering his next move, he started work on a cookbook, launched an enormously successful, first-rate California olive oil called EVO--and did a little traveling.
June 13, 1993 |
Last week Italian chefs all over town were in a frenzy preparing food for Festa Italia, which usually draws some 75,000 hungry revelers to Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade. And then the rains came. "It was pouring all Saturday morning," says festival organizer Antonio Capretta. "At 11, all the weather bureaus were still forecasting continuous thunderstorms through Sunday. A half hour later, the Health Department came in and pulled our permit for Saturday."
August 9, 1992 |
"You get to a point in your life where you want to move on," says Melisa Nicola, "and that's just what we are doing." So on Aug. 28 she and her husband Larry will close L.A. Nicola, their 12-year-old Silver Lake restaurant, to move into a new high-rise at Figueroa and Wilshire in downtown Los Angeles. The restaurant, which will open at the end of October, will simply be called Nicola. "The owners of the building came to us and said, 'We want you in our building,' " Nicola says.
April 19, 1992 |
"If someone came to me and said, 'Thomas, here's a silver platter, open a 20-seat restaurant and do what you want,' " says Thomas Keller, chef at Checkers, "well, we are all for sale, aren't we? But to say I am actively out looking for a job . . . no." But Keller confirms that the Kempinski group, which recently took over the hotel, has not renewed his contract.
June 16, 1991 |
Chefs who consider themselves artists traditionally have thought of the plate as an empty canvas. Food is the paint they use in the creation of their masterpieces, and they spend a great deal of time considering color and composition. Nouvelle-cuisine chefs were so enamored of this idea that they demanded the enormous plate; Villeroy & Boch, plate-makers to the chefs of the '70s and '80s, made plates that topped out at 13 inches.
January 13, 1991 |
One of New York's top chefs is moving to Los Angeles to take over the kitchen at Checkers Hotel downtown. He is Thomas Keller, whose cooking over a three-year period at Rakel in Greenwich Village was as elegant and innovative and meticulously right as any in Manhattan.