Thomas Keller, renowned chef and proprietor of The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, which includes The French Laundry and Per Se, both of which hold three-star Michelin ratings, will receive the TORCH Award during the upcoming Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo on August 28th – 30th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The award, which recognizes an individual or group of Chefs or Restaurateurs whose achievements have enhanced and brought innovation to the restaurant and foodservice profession, will be presented by Certified Master Chef Ferdinand Metz, Chairman of the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum and former President of the Culinary Institute of America for more than 20 years.
“Thomas Keller was chosen to receive the Torch Award for the purity of his knowledge, the clarity of his vision and the brilliance of his career–all qualities we look for when selecting an outstanding chef for this award,” said Master Chef Metz. “We are thrilled to present Thomas with this illustrious award to recognize his commitment to elevating cooking in America.”
Keller’s dedication to the French cuisine has led him to be the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France. Keller was also named “Chef of the Year” by The Culinary Institute of America in 2007 and has been named “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurateur” by the James Beard Foundation. His restaurants, The French Laundry and Per Se have earned numerous awards and recognitions including the 5-Star Award from Forbes Travel Guide, Wine Spectator’s Grand Award and The Daily Meal’s Best Restaurants in America.
Keller started his culinary career at a young age, working at a restaurant in Palm Beach. In 1983, Keller moved to France where he was able to work in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants including Guy Savoy and Taillevent. In 1986, he opened his first restaurant in New York City called Rakel. Keller then moved to the west coast, becoming the Executive Chef at the Checkers Hotel in Los Angeles. In 1994, he took ownership of The French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, California and opened Per Se in 2004 in Manhattan. He has also opened Bouchon, Bar Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, and Ad Hoc + Addendum, and has sold more than one million copies of his books “Ad Hoc at Home”, “Bouchon Bakery”, “The French Laundry”, “Bouchon”, and “Under Pressure”.
“On behalf of the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo and Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, we are excited and honored to present the Torch Award to Thomas Keller,” said Ron Mathews, Vice President for the Urban Expositions Family of Foodservice Events. “Chef Keller’s commitment to delivering the best food and experience to his customers continues to drive the industry forward and we are thrilled to be able to recognize his career and achievements.”
The Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo gathers thousands of restaurant and foodservice professionals to gain experience and knowledge on how to become more informed, more educated, more competitive, and more profitable in the industry. The trade show and conference, started in 1936 is produced by Urban Expositions (www.urban-expo.com) and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association (www.calrest.org). The 2016 event will take place August 28-30 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For more information, visit www.westernfoodexpo.com