A Tale of Two Kellers (SF Chefs. Food. Wine.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

It was the best of times…it was the best of times. Because apparently there are no worst of times when you’re graced by the presence of these two culinary legends.

Thomas Keller -- oh.my.agod.

Thomas Keller -- oh.my.agod.

Chef Hubert Keller, SF Chefs. Food. Wine. Urban BBQ

Hubert Keller, SF Chefs. Food. Wine. Urban BBQ

Chefs Thomas Keller and Hubert Keller have won the hearts, minds, and stomachs of the people – and after their showing at last weekend’s SF Chefs. Food. Wine., even more so.

sf-chefs-thomas-keller-charles-phan-doug-keane sf-chefs-charles-phan-thomas-keller-doug-keane

At the highly anticipated panel discussion, aptly entitled “View from the Top,” Thomas Keller joined fellow chef icons Charles Phan (The Slanted Door) and Douglas Keane (Cyrus) to discuss what it was like to be the man.

Thomas Keller on being awesome

Thomas Keller on being awesome

They talked about the joys and challenges of what they do – the gratification of giving other people the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and goals, the emotional connection they share with their team, the hard choices they make as they navigate life at the top (personal branding, bottom lines, mentorship, expansion, inspiration)…and of course, Yelp.

“What is Yelp? [looks around] No, really, I’m sorry, I don’t know.” —Thomas Keller, View from the Top panel session

Thomas Keller is a living legend – he elevated the standards of an entire industry and gave fine dining a whole new meaning.

Hua, Thomas Keller, Kai

Hua, Thomas Keller, Kai

He also happens to be incredibly warm, sincere, and gracious in person. He smiled, shook my hand, and kindly humored me as I chattered on about how I dreamed of dining at The French Laundry one day, how I loved TFL Cookbook, and how I tried making the Blinis from it, but they took so long with the mashing and sieving and pepper confetti-ing…when the whole time he just must have been thinking, “But blinis are so easy!”

Ok, so Thomas Keller may think I’m a twit in the kitchen now, but at least he knows I’m an ambitious twit.

*******************


It’s good to be Mrs. Hubert

It’s good to be Mrs. Hubert

Cue Keller #2, the charismatic cat, Hubert Keller.

Cool as ice.

Cool as ice.

A wild man.

A wild man.

With adoring fans.

With adoring fans.

Hubert was the rock star of SF Chefs, doing cooking demos, meeting fans, chumming with chef friends, and yes, even dropping some phat beats at the Urban BBQ Saturday Night.

This is a man who knows how to stir up a crowd! When Thomas Keller walks into a room, a hush falls and the air crackles with electric anticipation. When Hubert Keller walks into a room, a similar energy washes over the crowd, but it’s a little less…quiet. No, it’s party time. Something charming will be said, laughs will be had, and if you’re lucky, dancing will be done late into the night.

Oh yeah, and he can cook too.

Braised Short Rib, Haute v. Bistro, Hubert Keller

Braised Short Rib, Haute v. Bistro, Hubert Keller

17 Responses to “A Tale of Two Kellers (SF Chefs. Food. Wine.)”

  1. Fran says:

    How amazing that you were photographed with Thomas Keller! The French Laundry is definitely worth the splurge — even looking through the kitchen windows on the way in lets you know how high Keller’s standards are for his staff.

  2. What fun!

    I envy you meeting the Kellers ^2 ! what a culinary dream come true. It looks like you had an incredible time, and geeze just what fun.

  3. Kitchen M says:

    Awwww! Great photos! I totally missed out on Hubert Keller’s party. That looks so much fun. I also like the one that you guys are dancing. That’s really cute. :)

  4. How exciting that you got to meet these legends! I’m so jealous!

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  8. gio_way says:

     Amazing  pics!! I love Hubert Keller!!! <3

  9. [...] overwhelming. How could I even do this meal justice? Because, well, it was more than just a meal. Thomas Keller has created something truly magical here. He has created a world where every detail has been [...]

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