Chef and Restaurateur: Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller is one of the best—and best known—chefs in America, but it took him 40 years to get there. He took a long, winding path through the culinary arts; from whisking his first hollandaise sauce at the Palm Beach Yacht Club, to learning the painstaking art of pastry at one of the finest restaurants in France. He also worked in some of America’s most demanding kitchens, and failed at two of his own restaurants before purchasing The French Laundry in Napa Valley—a place he would transform into an international destination. Thomas has grown his business to include 10 restaurants and bakeries, and is one of the few chefs to hold three Michelin stars in two restaurants. He has also mentored countless younger chefs, passing along a lesson that was once taught to him: cooking is nurturing. 

This episode was produced by Alex Cheng, with music by Ramtin Arablouei

Edited by Neva Grant, with research help from Alex Cheng.

You can follow HIBT on Twitter & Instagram, and email us at

See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at