c4c

Thomas Keller Will Feed You Burnt Steak, a Bowl of Wheaties, or Gluten-Free Whatever

He takes every, single food request extremely seriously.

He takes every, single food request extremely seriously.Photo: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

"There's nothing you could order that I'd roll my eyes at," Thomas Keller told Grub Street, over gluten-free pastries, pastrami toasts, and falafel balls this afternoon at Per Se, while mingling around a tea party to promote his Cup for Cup gluten-free flour. Keller had a long morning, starting at The Martha Stewart Show along with a coffee-slinging, French Laundry–loving Hugh Jackman. (With such distinguished gentleman, "Martha was in a very good mood!" said Keller.) But back to cooking his customers like, anything ...

"I never understood that old-school chef who wouldn't give you a half-plate of pasta if you wanted a half-plate of pasta," he says. "We're in the service industry; it's not that complicated." But you must put your foot down at some requests? "No. Nothing. If you come to my restaurant and order a steak extra, extra well done, I'll make sure to prepare for you the best extra, extra well done steak there is. That's my obligation." His technique for such, um, hockey pucks? "I'd cook it for a long time over a low heat; like, a really long time." Surely you wouldn't stand by an overcooked fish? "Sure! Some customers want their fish raw, some burnt; it's not my job to judge." Don't some requests, at least, piss you off? "Not at all. If you order a bowl of cereal at Per Se, it's my job to provide that for you." With gluten-free cereal options, no less! Speaking of, Keller himself only has one allergy: "Penicillin!"

Advertising

Recent News

 
NY Mag