Picasso. Austin. Lennon. Bocuse. When the legends of art, literature, music, or food are gone from this world, fans often imagine how they would have spent time with their heroes if given a chance to experience their talent firsthand. Come September, Exclusive Resorts Members can gain access to one—if not the—most acclaimed living culinary masters.
Chef Thomas Keller is among the geniuses of American cuisine, revered for his use of exemplary ingredients prepared with classic French technique and executed with arduous attention to detail. He is one of the most decorated chefs in the world, having been named The Culinary Institute of America’s “Chef of the Year,” the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef,” “Outstanding Restaurateur,” and “America’s Best Chef” by Time magazine. His influence is pervasive among the finest restaurants around the globe.
Chef Keller’s culinary career began at a young age, taking him from Palm Beach, Florida (where he worked with his mother), to France, and then eventually New York, where he opened his first restaurant in 1986. But it was his move to California that inspired Chef Keller to create an experience that forever changed the landscape of American dining.
In 1994, Chef Keller took ownership of The French Laundry in Yountville. He quickly garnered nationwide acclaim, transforming the restaurant into what food critic Ruth Reichl then called “the dream come true” and “the most exciting place to eat in the United States.” Today, The French Laundry remains a three-star-Michelin landmark, one of the rare few destination restaurants in the U.S.
After two decades of success with The French Laundry, Keller returned to New York and opened Per Se in 2004. Also a three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Per Se features Chef Keller’s daily tasting menu with signature dishes such as Oysters and Pearls, complemented by an award-winning wine list of more than 2,000 bottles.
Experiencing this great American chef is at the heart of Exclusive Resort’s most distinctive food and wine experiences. For three nights in September, a small group of 20 Members will gain special access to Chef Keller and Per Se for the ultimate in luxury culinary vacations.
After gathering and enjoying a cocktail hour at Per Se, Chef Keller, also the author of five cookbooks, will provide a special private meet and greet with Members and will lead a tour of the Per Se kitchen, followed by a demonstration of Chef Keller’s favorite cooking tips. The evening will conclude with a 7-course, wine-paired menu at Per Se.
During the New York dining experience, Members will attend additional epicurean events with New York’s top chefs and restaurants. On the itinerary? A private lunch followed by a cooking class with Zac Young, celebrity chef and inventor of the PieCaken. Members will also enjoy a five-course, wine-paired dinner at Eleven Madison Park—a three-Michelin-star restaurant run by Will Guidara and Chef Daniel Humm. In 2017, Eleven Madison Park was named “Best Restaurant in the World” a renowned international list compiled by British magazine, Restaurant (Eleven Madison Park is the first American restaurant to top the list since The French Laundry garnered the top spot in 2003 and 2004).
“In the end, a great meal is not about the food and wine. A great meal is an emotional experience,” writes Chef Keller on his restaurant’s philosophy. “A great meal is not one that just fills you up. A great meal is a journey that returns you to sources of pleasure you may have forgotten and takes you to places you haven’t been before.”