How are Thomas Keller's restaurants different from each other?
The French Laundry began as the restaurant that I’ve always dreamed about—have people come from all over the country, all over the world, to experience this magnificent place and enjoy their moment here at The French Laundry. Bouchon, which is our casual restaurant, our French bistro—the genesis of that was to have a restaurant that we could go to at the end of the service. We all came from urban environments where there were always restaurants that were open after we finished work, and of course, here in Napa Valley and specifically Yountville, there was nothing. So, what better restaurant to open than a restaurant that I loved, that we loved collectively? That French Bistro, a place where you can go get a beautiful roasted chicken, a croque madame, and steak frites and have a great glass of red wine or a really cold beer and have it after work. It seemed to be obvious that that kind of restaurant would be successful here. Ad Hoc was a family-style restaurant, quite by accident. It wasn’t intended to be there for any period of time and now it’s almost five years old. It was a family-style restaurant and in many ways what The French Laundry was when I bought The French Laundry. It’s a five-course meal for $49 and it changed every day based on what was available from the gardens and from our suppliers. The standards of each of these restaurants are exactly the same. There may be the different cut of lamb in each restaurant, but it comes from the same supplier, the same standard and the same quality. The way we treat our food, the way we treat each other, the way we treat our environment, the way we treat our equipment, the level of execution of what we are trying to achieve is one that is consistent between all of our restaurants, and including our Bouchon Bakery. We all have to embrace the standards that we began here at The French Laundry and now extend them to all our restaurants.