The God of Cookery – Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller
Kepler’s Books
Menlo Park, CA
November 10, 2004

The God of CookeryThere aren’t many people who can get me to leave my new little baby with my mom so I can see them. But there’s no way I was going to miss seeing the man who is responsible for the most decadent FoodPorn experience I’ve ever had.

So we mosey into the bookstore, early and already seats are filling fast. We manage to snag two seats at the back of the first section so we can see and hear well and not be too far back to jump in the line for the signing. Enter the man.

He begins by graciously thanking all that helped put the book together while thumbing through the book. He then admits that he hasn’t eaten all day and now he’s looking at all the food in the book, “My god.” When putting this and The French Laundry Cookbooktogether he didn’t want “recipe,photo,recipe,photo,recipe,photo…see how boring that can get?” What he enjoys about cooking is the comradery in the kitchen plus making people on the other side of the wall happy.

Thomas Keller & Chantrelle

Bouchon in french means cork or bottle stopper and it also refers to a bottleneck in traffic. Bouchons in France were basically simple, efficient and economical bistros before bistros were bistros! Bistro is from the Russian word for fast and the Russian soldiers called Bouchons Bistro during the war and apparently the name stuck. Now it’s seems Americans have done what their good at and have adopted a style and squeezed it to death, “What we did to quiche is kind of sad.” Bistro now means nothing so Keller didn’t want to call his new restaurant a bistro, so in the typical Keller way, Bouchon was born.

Keller signingBouchon

The floor was opened to questions and he made sure to point out that he can’t get you reservations. Bouchon takes reservations from 11am to 1am and they hold open a certain number of tables for walk-ins. My favorite question of the night came next: French Laundryis filled with fats and butter and some of us can’t eat like that, is Bouchon the same?Keller’s response was priceless, “Of course, yes!” And he was quick to point out that you should eat everything in moderation though. Don’t eat a stick of butter a day people! But most importantly, feel free to modify recipes to your taste and “make it yours.”