Watch Master Chef Thomas Keller introduce his nominee, William Bradley of Addison at the Grand Del Mar resort in San Diego, then scroll down to visit Bradley in his kitchen as he prepares a surprising dish from his competition menu.
Thomas Keller is renowned for his culinary skills and his exceptionally high standards. He has established a collection of restaurants that set a new paradigm within the hospitality industry. He began his culinary career at a young age, working in the Palm Beach restaurant managed by his mother. He relocated to France in 1983, where he worked in several Michelin-starred establishments including Guy Savoy and Taillevent. He opened his first restaurant, Rakel, in New York City in 1986, then moved to California to work as the executive chef at the Checkers Hotel in Los Angeles.
In 1994, Keller took ownership of the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., quickly garnering nationwide acclaim. His French bistro Bouchon debuted down the street in 1998, with Bouchon Bakery following five years later. The other restaurants in the group include his home-style restaurant Ad Hoc (also located in Yountville), Per Se and Bouchon Bakery & Cafe in the Time Warner Center in New York City, and outposts of Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery at the Venetian in Las Vegas. In November 2009, he opened Bouchon in Beverly Hills and introduced his newest concept, Bar Bouchon, in an adjacent space. In May 2011, Keller opened Bouchon Bakery in New York City's Rockefeller Center, followed by another unveiling of Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills in August.
In December 2012, he simultaneously opened additional locations of Bouchon Bakery at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Keller values genuine collaboration. He has assembled an expert staff that shares his philosophy and vision, enabling him to concentrate on his many varied interests.
He is the author of the award-winning cookbooks The French Laundry Cookbook and Bouchon, Under Pressure (on sous vide cooking), and Bouchon Bakery, released in 2012. His book of family-style recipes, titled Ad Hoc at Home, has received awards from both the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the James Beard Foundation.
Keller has collaborated with Raynaud and the design firm Level on a collection of sophisticated white-porcelain dinnerware called Hommage. He has launched Modicum, a Napa Valley—sourced wine label, and consulted on the films Spanglish and Ratatouille, the latter of which won the best animated feature film at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards for 2007.
In 2001, Keller was named America's Best Chef by Time magazine. In 2003, Johnson & Wales University conferred upon him the honorary degree of doctor of culinary arts for his contributions to the industry. His accolades include consecutive Best Chef awards from the James Beard Foundation and Chef of the Year by the Culinary Institute of America. Keller is the only U.S.-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the Michelin Guide, having received a total of seven stars in the 2012 editions.
In 2008, at the behest of chef Paul Bocuse, along with chefs Daniel Boulud and Jérôme Bocuse, Keller established the Bocuse d'Or USA Foundation, where he currently serves as president. The foundation is devoted to inspiring culinary excellence in young professionals and preserving the traditions and quality of classic cuisine in the United States. In 2010 Keller was elected to the Culinary Institute of America's board of trustees, contributing his unique perspective and leadership to furthering the school's educational mission. In spring 2011, French president Nicolas Sarkozy designated Keller a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the traditions of French cuisine and his role in elevating cooking in the United States. Keller is only the third U.S. culinary figure to be so honored. The medal designating his rank was presented by chef Paul Bocuse in a special ceremony at Keller's Per Se restaurant.
6 medium-size Cherokee heirloom tomatoes
2 tablespoons San Marzano tomato paste
½ cup yuzu juice
8 ounces sparkling water
3 tablespoons sea salt, plus a pinch
½ cup simple syrup
1 pint wild raspberries
1 cup Champagne grapes
1 cup cavaillon-melon balls
1 cup Sun Gold heirloom tomatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 clamshell small Thai basil
William Bradley made his first foray into the culinary world as a teenager, working as prep cook at a small Italian restaurant in Bonita, Calif. "I soon discovered that I loved cooking and became obsessed with the notion of expressing myself through food and the related pleasure that I could give others," he recalls. Describing himself as "driven not by trends, but by the history of food," Bradley says his emphasis is on "mastering simplicity, with a keen focus on taste and technique."
In his role as the director and executive chef of Addison, the signature dining venue of the Grand Del Mar in San Diego, Bradley conveys his persona and culinary prowess through a simple, yet inspired menu. Since 2006, he has been creating highly praised dishes reflecting his artisanal approach to cooking, such as Alaskan king crab with anchoïade or coffee-roasted canard with koshihikari rice and candied peanuts. His contemporary French cuisine, highlighted by the seasonal California ingredients that he scouts from local farms, has led to global recognition for Bradley and his restaurant. With the full support of Addison's outstanding service team, Bradley also oversees all front-of-house operations as the restaurant's director.
Addison is the first and only restaurant in San Diego to receive both the highly coveted AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star ratings, which Addison has earned since 2009 under Bradley's direction. It also garnered three stars from the Los Angeles Times and was named one of America's Best New Restaurants for 2007 by Esquire magazine and one of Gayot's Top 10 U.S. Hotel Restaurants.
Bradley serves on the council for the 2013 Bocuse d'Or USA, was San Diego's only nomination (semifinalist) for a 2012 James Beard Foundation Award, and was designated a Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef in 2010. He is one of only 162 chefs on five continents to hold this title—and the only one in San Diego. He was also named one of StarChefs.com's 2010 Los Angeles–San Diego Rising Stars. In addition, Couteaux Review—an epicurean organization that promotes sustainable agriculture—selected Bradley as a recipient of the 2011 Couteaux Review Sustainability Award.
Bradley's collaborative work with the Grand Del Mar's team of sommeliers on Addison's wine program has contributed to kudos from Forbes.com, Wine & Spirits, Santé, and Food & Wine. Addison has also received the Wine Spectator Grand Award, the highest honor for restaurant wine lists, each year since 2009, and was named one of Wine Enthusiast's 100 Best Wine Restaurants in 2011 and Santé's 2010 Wine Restaurant of the Year.
For the Consommé: In a blender, add Cherokee heirloom tomatoes, tomato paste, yuzu juice, sparkling water, 3 tablespoons of sea salt, and simple syrup. Purée on high for 5 minutes. Pour contents into a plastic container and place in the refrigerator for 48 hours. Remove and strain into another plastic container using a chinois that is triple-lined in cheesecloth. Allow contents to drip for 48 hours. This allows a pure, clarified, tomato consommé to settle.
For the Fruit Salad: In a large mixing bowl, add raspberries, grapes, melon balls, and Sun Gold heirloom tomatoes. Toss these contents with a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, raspberry vinegar, and pinch of crushed sea salt.
To Finish: Divide the salad mixture evenly among four chilled bowls. Gently ladle 3 ounces of tomato consommé over the contents. Garnish with small Thai basil.
Go into the kitchen with William Bradley as he prepares ris de veau panes. Below, another recipe from his competition menu.