Every night the world’s cooks subject themselves to the heat and pressure of the professional kitchen. We wanted to turn up the pressure on them in a different way, subjecting them to our rapid-fire interview about travel, food, and pop culture. In this episode we talk with legendary chef Thomas Keller, who has shaped American fine dining for a generation with his three-Michelin-starred Per Se and French Laundry.
What music do you listen to while getting ready for service?
You know, there’s no better song to start with than Start Me Up. That’s it.
Most underrated food city in America?
Birmingham, I think. The Southern food is so so satisfying.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Roasted chicken, hands down.
Biggest pet peeve?
Lack of desire. That’s my pet peeve. You don’t do anything unless you really want to do it. Don’t get involved in something unless you’re really focused on it.
Coffee or tea?
Your drink of choice?
Guilty pleasure TV show?
Right now it’s Schitt’s Creek.
Waffles or pancakes?
Waffles. Crispy waffles.
What’s one place you haven’t traveled where you’d really like to go?
The South Pacific, like Fiji and those islands down there. I love beaches, I like to eat fish, I love the whole idea of relaxation around that.
Biggest mistake you see home cooks make?
Preparation. Having everything they need, which we call mise en place, and that’s the biggest mistake. The second biggest mistake, or maybe as big a mistake, is being too ambitious. You need to have confidence and comfort in what you’re preparing. And if you want to be ambitious, try one thing new to the menu that night, don’t try four new things, because if you have one thing that’s not right, at least you have three things that are good.
Chunky or smooth peanut butter?
NBA or NFL?
Ferrari or Lamborghini?
Biggie or Tupac?
If you could cook a meal for anyone living or dead, who would it be?
If would have to be a group of people. Certainly someone like Julia Child, who I was able to cook for when she was alive. Harry Truman has always been someone I really appreciated as one of the greatest presidents in America and then family would certainly be there, and my friends.