Director: Eric Lilavois
From NY to NY
Per Se, the much-anticipated restaurant from renowned chef Thomas Keller, opened on February 16, 2004 in the sophisticated Manhattan enclave, Time Warner Center complex at Columbus Circle. In his latest culinary enterprise, Keller brings his distinctive hands-on approach from Napa Valley's The French Laundry to New York City, reflecting his intense focus on detail, extending not only to cuisine, but also to presentation, mood and surroundings.
A native of California, Keller began his culinary career as a teen, working in the Palm Beach restaurant managed by his mother. After serving apprenticeships in Rhode Island, Florida and the Catskills, Keller moved to France in 1983, where he worked in several Michelin-starred houses including Guy Savoy, Taillevent, Gerard Besson, Le Toit de Passey, Chiberta and Le Pré Catelan. He followed with successful runs at La Reserve and Restaurant Raphael in New York City. By 1986, he was ready to open his own restaurant, Rakel, which garnered extensive critical acclaim and a loyal clientele.
Five years later, he headed for Los Angeles to become executive chef of Checkers Hotel. In 1994, he set up his kitchen in an old laundry building in the hamlet of Yountville, where he became, in due course, the most celebrated chef in all the land.
If the sheer beauty that is The French Laundry were not enough, Keller launched a new venture in 2004. The menu of Per Se showcases some of his most adventurous creations to date, such as white truffle-infused custard with a ragout of Perigord truffles and sweet butter-poached Maine lobster with wilted arrowleaf spinach and saffron-vanilla sauce; Sabayon of pearl tapioca with Island Creek oysters and Russian Sevruga caviar; Snake River Farm's calotte de boeuf grillée with crispy bone marrow, russet potato mille-feuille, broccoli purée, morel mushrooms and sauce bordelaise... a tribute to culinary perfection.
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