World Chefs: Keller shares memories, spotlight in latest book

Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:03am EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thomas Keller, one of America's most respected chefs, shares the food memories of his childhood and his time in France in his new book "Bouchon Bakery," which is also the name of his chain of pastry shops in the United States.

Keller is the only American chef who owns two three-Michelin-star restaurants - Per Se in New York City and The French Laundry in the Napa Valley wine region in California.

Earlier this year, Britain's Restaurant Magazine named Per Se, which opened in 2004, the world's sixth best restaurant. Keller also earned the magazine's lifetime achievement award.

Like his four other books, his latest effort is a collaboration. He co-wrote it with his top pastry chefs Sebastien Rouxel and Matthew McDonald along with food writers Susie Heller, Michael Ruhlman and Amy Vogler.

The 57-year-old spoke to Reuters about the book, his pastry chefs and his place in the culinary world.

Q: Why did you collaborate with the leaders of your pastry team with this book?

A: "If you look at my other cookbooks, it's always been a point with me to share these opportunities with those who share their skills and expertise with the general public. That was the reason why I did the book. Sebastien is one of the best pastry chefs in America. His techniques are unparalleled. I'm not trying to pretend that I'm a pastry chef by writing a book about baking and pastries. Nor am I trying to be a bread baker. I have Matthew McDonald, who is one of the best bakers in America. To be able to highlight his skills in the bread section was very important as well."

Q: How did your time in France change your view about pastry and bread-making?   Continued...

U.S. chef Thomas Keller speaks during an interview with Reuters at a hotel in Singapore January 30, 2008. HREUTERS/Tim Chong