Thomas Keller, one of the world’s top chefs, takes on one of the world’s most basic ingredients: the egg.
He may be one of the most sophisticated cooks in America, but Thomas Keller has a very simple passion—eggs. "They transcend any other food," says the chef-owner of Napa Valley’s world-famous French Laundry and Manhattan’s exceptional Per Se. "You can eat them in sweet or savory dishes, for breakfast, lunch or dinner." He uses them every chance he gets, often sourcing them from unusual places (among the eggs that he stocks at Per Se is the beautiful Araucana variety, which has pink, blue or yellow shells; his supplier is a 17-year-old girl from Connecticut). He’s very particular about omelets and prepares his elegant version with just one egg, so it’s incredibly thin and meltingly tender. Keller is even more opinionated about quiche. Among his criteria: Quiche needs to be two inches high and have straight sides. His wonderfully flaky crust encloses a light, velvety filling (he uses a blender to mix the quiche batter) that’s studded with mushrooms and cheese. One of Keller’s favorite snacks also includes eggs and cheese—it’s the BLT plus fried egg and Monterey Jack cheese sandwich he created for the 2004 film Spanglish. The movie starred Adam Sandler as a superstar chef whose character was loosely based on Keller; as an added DVD attraction, Keller explains how to make the delectable sandwich.
The French Laundry, 6640 Washington St., Yountville, CA; 707-944-2380. Per Se, 10 Columbus Circle, New York City; 212-823-9335.