Described as a “true colossus” of the gastronomic world, The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards has named US chef Thomas Keller the Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2012.
In a glowing review of the chef’s culinary career, editors of Restaurant magazine -- which hosts the highly anticipated World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards gala Monday, April 30 -- described his flagship Napa Valley restaurant The French Laundry as having “revolutionized” American cooking.
With signature dishes like Oysters & Pearls and Salmon Cornets, over the years The French Laundry has gained a reputation for offering the ultimate fine dining experience in the heart of California’s wine country, attracting pilgrimages from foodies around the world.
It’s been a particularly auspicious month for Keller, who was also honored at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival in California, where fellow chefs like Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Colicchio paid homage to the man in a video tribute.
Keller began his culinary career washing dishes at a restaurant his mother managed in Palm Beach. After going on to work in several Michelin-starred restaurants in France including Guy Savoy and Taillevent, Keller imported the ideals of classical French cuisine to the US, opening The French Laundry in a building which once served as a bawdy-house.
With eight restaurants and two bakeries that span the east and west coast in the US today, Keller has earned a string of accolades including titles like “America’s Best Chef” by Time magazine, the Best Chef award from the James Beard Foundation Awards, and
Chef of the Year by the Culinary Institute of America.
Keller is also the only American-born chef to hold multiple three star ratings by the Michelin Guide, having received a total of seven stars in the 2011 edition.
Per Se, an east coast version of The French Laundry in New York, is decorated with three stars and was ranked 10th best at the World's 50 Best Restaurant awards.
He’s also written a handful of cookbooks including The French Laundry, Bouchon and Ad Hoc At Home.
To learn more about Keller’s culinary influence, watch the 17-minute tribute video
. The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards takes place April 30 in London.