Keller 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 houses including Guy Savoy and Taillevent. He opened his first restaurant, Rakel, in New York City in 1986, then moved westward 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, quickly garnering nationwide acclaim. His French bistro Bouchon debuted in 1998, with Bouchon Bakery following five years later, both in walking distance from The French Laundry. The other restaurants in the group include his family-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 iconic Rockefeller Center, followed by another unveiling of Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills later in August. In December 2012, he simultaneously opened two additional locations of Bouchon Bakery at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Keller is the author of five cookbooks, of which more than one million copies are in print. His award-winning "The French Laundry” cookbook debuted in 1999, followed by “Bouchon” and “Under Pressure,” a cookbook dedicated to sous vide preparations. He also authored "Ad Hoc at Home," a book of family-style recipes that received awards from IACP and the James Beard Foundation, in addition to appearing on The New York Times Best Sellers list for six weeks in 2009 and 2010. His most recent project, The New York Times best selling cookbook "Bouchon Bakery," was on The New York Times Best Sellers list for nearly two months after its release in October 2012.
Valuing genuine collaboration, Keller has successfully assembled an expert staff that shares his philosophy and vision, enabling him to concentrate on his many varied interests, including his Napa Valley wine label Modicum and self-published bi-annual magazine Finesse. He has a decade-old relationship with All-Clad Metalcrafters, for whom he most recently consulted on the All-Clad Copper Core Bocuse D’Or Cookware. Together with restaurant designer Adam D. Tihany, he created K + T, a collection of silver hardware and cocktailware for Christofle Silversmiths. His collaboration with Raynaud and design firm Level has led to a sophisticated collection of white porcelain dinnerware called “Hommage.” He also consulted on the films Spanglish and Ratatouille, the latter winning the 2007 “Best Animated Feature Film” category at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.
In August 2011, in collaboration with Lena Kwak, the research & development chef of The French Laundry, Keller launched Cup4Cup, or “cup for cup,” a gluten-free flour blend that substitutes for all-purpose flour in home recipes. Distributed nationally and retailed at all Bouchon Bakery locations, Cup4Cup provides a healthy new ingredient to home cooks nationwide and continues Keller’s legacy of setting industry standards.
In addition to the international and national acclaim Keller’s fine dining and casual dining restaurants consistently receive, including seven stars in the 2013 Michelin Guide, Keller’s personal influence on the culinary world has placed him among the most decorated chefs in the world. 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. He is consistently recognized by respected media outlets, the James Beard Foundation and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), which just honored him in 2013 with “TK Day at the CIA.”
In 2008, at the behest of Chef Paul Bocuse, he, along with Chefs Daniel Boulud and Jerome Bocuse, 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 America. On behalf of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chef Paul Bocuse presented Keller as a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor in 2011 in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the traditions of French cuisine and his role in elevating cooking in America.
In 2010 he was elected to the CIA’s Board of Trustees, contributing his unique perspective and leadership to furthering the school’s educational mission.
- 2013 Thomas Keller Bouchon Collection
- 2012 Bouchon Bakery
- 2010 The Essential Thomas Keller: The French Laundry Cookbook & Ad Hoc at Home
- 2009 Ad Hoc at Home
- 2008 Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide
- 2006 The Complete Keller: The French Laundry Cookbook & Bouchon
- 2004 Bouchon
- 1999 The French Laundry Cookbook
- 2013-2007 Michelin Guide Bay Area, 1 Star for Bouchon
- 2013-2006 Michelin Guide Bay Area, 3 Stars for The French Laundry
- 2013-2005 Michelin Guide New York, 3 Stars for Per Se
- 2011 Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor, presented by Chef Paul Bocuse in NYC
- 2010-2004 Gayot Top 40 Restaurants in the US (French Laundry)
- 2010 Gayot Top 40 Restaurants in the US (Per Se)
- 2008-2005 Best Restaurant in the Americas (French Laundry), Restaurant Magazine's Top 50 Restaurants of the World
- 2005 Best New Restaurant (Per Se), James Beard Foundation
- 2004-1999 Five-Star Award, Mobil Travel Guide
- 2004, 2003 Best Restaurant in the World (French Laundry), Restaurant Magazine's Top 50 Restaurants of the World
- 2003-1998 Voted #1 - Top Food, Zagat Guide to the Bay Area
- 2003 Outstanding Service Award, James Beard Foundation
- 2001 Outstanding Wine Service Award, James Beard Foundation,
- 2001 America's Best Chef, TIME Magazine
- 2000 Top Restaurant for Food, Wine Spectator Magazine
- 2000 Favorite Restaurant – Restaurant Experts' Poll, Food & Wine Magazine
- 1998 Chef of the Year, Bon Appétit Magazine
- 1997 Outstanding Chef: America, James Beard Foundation
- 1996 Best American Chef: California, James Beard Foundation