Thomas Keller talks about his inspirations

When you look at the impressive career that chef Thomas Keller has enjoyed, it is easy to forget that at one point he, too, was a beginner. You might be curious as to who influenced him when he was a young chef. If so, you’re in luck, because Keller recently participated in a Q&A about his career at a National Restaurant Association event. 

Thomas Keller

His family, especially his mother and older brother, provided his first role models for the kitchen. Keller’s brother, Jacob, taught him critical skills like how to roast a prime rib, how to glaze a lobster tail, and how to make an omelet. His first significant professional mentor was Roland Henin, who asked him a question that changed Keller’s career trajectory. Henin asked Keller if he knew “why cooks cook.” After the young chef struggled to answer, Henin replied  ‘We cook to nurture people.’ That response was a catalyst for Keller, who said at that moment he knew ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ 

Keller also answered questions about his latest project (TAK Room), about what advice he would give young chefs, and how the profession has changed since he first entered into it over 40 years ago. Read the entire Q&A on the Nation’s Restaurant News website

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