Two nights ago Thomas Keller appeared on Charlie Rose and gave a pretty great interview for any Tom, Per Se, or Ratatouille fans. As Eater SF points out, you need to discount Charlie's first question—"What is it you know about cooking?"— but otherwise it's 23 minutes of sweet TK wisdom. In addition to a tour of Keller's NYC restaurant Per Se, we hear his thoughts on his peers (Grant Achatz, Gordon Ramsay, David Chang), his legacy, his famous dishes (oysters and pearls), and how often a chef needs to be in his kitchen. Highlights:
How often are you in the kitchen? As often as I can be (chuckles)...I started to realize that no longer was the old definition of chef accurate. The old chef had one restaurant, one menu, one kitchen they spent their whole time in.
Whats your favorite meal? Roasted Chicken. It stirs so many emotions in me.
What do you want your legacy to be? I hope my legacy has been impactful to a lot of different people, that has enabled them to help them do their jobs better...from a guest point of view I hope they have memories.
Have you ever wanted to cook on television? No, I think that's distracting. There's enough things today that distract chefs and certainly enough that distract me. I want to try to focus in and make sure our restaurants are getting everything they need.
What chef either living or dead would you have most wanted to spend time with? Ferdinand Point...his point was you need to take ownership of what you do in a way that it will be yours one day.
What's your favorite pastry? the Napoleon.
What are your ambitions now? To make sure we're able to maintain and continue to elevate the quality of our restaurants and set examples for the next generation.
How important is Michelin? Michelin is very important. I think any book, any magazine, any newspaper that's critiquing what we do is very important because we need that feedback. Michelin represents, for so many chefs, the pinnacle of that accomplishment.
Where are you eating tonight? I'll probably go back to Per Se and have a bite to eat. I missed family meal...I'm sure they saved me some.