Thomas Keller, one of the world's most celebrated and influential chefs, will be at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY on Monday, May 13 for a day of discussions with students, breakout sessions regarding various restaurant business topics, and a culinary presentation.
"Thomas Keller is the most important chef in American history," said CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan. "Countless CIA students aspire to work with him, and many more hope to be similarly accomplished one day. The chance to learn from him in person will be an extraordinary experience for our students—the future leaders of the food world."
Chef Keller will be bringing top staff members to the college from his celebrated restaurants, including The French Laundry in Yountville, CA; Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas, NV; and Per Se in New York City. Several Keller protégés who are prominent in their own right will also be taking part, including CIA graduates Grant Achatz '94—whose Alinea in Chicago has earned the maximum three stars from the Michelin Guide and is widely considered one of the best restaurants in the world—and Jonathan Benno '93, executive chef of Lincoln Ristorante in New York City and former chef de cuisine at Per Se.
With The French Laundry and Per Se, Thomas Keller is the only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star Michelin Guide ratings. The French Laundry was honored as the World's Best Restaurant by the UK-based Restaurant magazine in 2003. Two years later, the same magazine named Per Se the World's Best New Restaurant. Keller won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in 1997 and was named America's Best Chef by Time magazine in 2001. Chef Keller also serves as president of the Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation.
The day will include opening remarks to CIA students by Chef Keller about the evolution of a chef. Breakout sessions will cover topics ranging from service and wine pairing to working with purveyors and making the transition from chef to restaurateur.
The schedule wraps up with a culinary presentation by Chef Keller featuring several of his principal chefs, including Eli Kaimeh '00 of Per Se, followed by a Q&A session for students with Chef Keller.
There are no classes on campus that day, and more than 1,000 students are expected to take part in some or all of the events. In recent years, CIA students have also had opportunities to interact with such culinary luminaries as Ferran Adrià, Paul Bocuse, and Chef Achatz.