Deborah Jones

The French Laundry chef is only the second chef in history to be awarded the honor. 

Maria Yagoda
December 06, 2018

One of the most decorated chefs in American restaurants just received another major honor. This week, Thomas Keller was inducted into the California Hall of Fame, joining the likes of Robert Redford (also inducted this year) and Lucille Ball. Keller is the second chef to ever receive the recognition; the first was Alice Waters. 

The chef, who rose to global prominence with The French Laundry in Napa Valley, is considered a pioneer in the shaping of what is now known as "California Cuisine." The legendary restaurant, which continues to represent the pinnacle of American fine-dining, celebrates its 24th anniversary this year. 

“I’m honored as a native Californian to be recognized and truly blessed to be part of this class of amazing individuals helping shape California," Keller said in a statement. This year, Keller became the most-starred chef in America, retaining seven Michelin stars across his restaurant portfolio. In addition to helming the French Laundry, which we recognized as one of the 40 most important restaurants of the past 40 years, Keller has grown his Bouchon empire to span the globe. 

In August, Keller opened his first Florida restaurant. Located on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, the Surf Club Restaurant revives an iconic club from the 1930s, featuring grand Art Deco flourishes and "classic Continental Cuisine." 

According to a press release, an exhibit at the California Museum in Sacramento will display archives from Keller’s restaurants and memorabilia. If you can't make it to Sacramento but want more Keller in your life, consider learning some of his trade-secrets by watching his online MasterClass series, where he shares "a wide range of techniques to cook meat dishes and detail[s] how to make stocks and sauces to round out each dish." Also expect demos on some of his signature dishes, including fried chicken and pan-roasted côte de boeuf.

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