"No, I had no formal training," he [Keller] admitted. "I grew up in Florida; I worked in restaurants in New York and Rhode Island. I just believed in the integrity of classic French dishes, which we deconstruct, then reconstruct." Such as? "Take Sole Veronique. It's traditionally poached in white wine with grapes, but we experiment with raisins..."
Not long ago there was a thread concerning the advisibility of going to culinary school or training at a community college. Looks like the traditional approach of just going to work in a kitchen is the winner this year.
Well that's going to make my reservation in a couple of months rather harder then! You have to ring EXACTLY 2 months ahead, they start taking reservations at 10.00a and if you don't get through before 10.20a then you've missed the list. I have confidence though, I managed to get the Kitchen Table at Charlie Trotter's in April, which has got to be even harder.
I recommend the French Laundry Cookbook, even if many of the things in it are beyond my ability (or inclination), but I do make his "Caesar Salad" as an app and guests rave about it (even when I make it!)
Lends real credence to the "At Grandmother's Elbow" school of culinary arts. Formal culinary training gives a student the foundation on which to build a career but only applying those techniques earns a graduate respect. It doesn't come with the diploma.
Hubby worked at Season's in Durango, CO. It's the best fine dining restaurant in Durango (or at least it was...I heard things might be slipping of late). The head Chef, a person named Dennis, worked under Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. There's a photo of Dennis in The French Laundry Cookbook but he must be camera shy because he is photographed from the back.
There was some criticism of The French Laundry Cookbook as being made up of recipes no home cook would attempt, making it not much more than a coffee-table book. I admit you'd have to have a lot of time on your hands to make the several-base-recipe dishes but it definitely can be done.