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Thomas Keller, the masterful chef behind the French Laundry, Per Se, Ad Hoc, and the various Bouchons and Bouchon Bakeries across the country, sat down with The Daily Meal's video producer, Ali Rosen, for an in-depth discussion about the path of his career, his inspirations, how he got his start, and his plans for the future. The first segment in the series delves into Keller's childhood inspirations and how he began his legendary culinary career.
Keller got a bit of a late start to his cooking career. In fact, his brother Joseph was his first mentor in the kitchen; he says that Joseph was the one who taught him many of the fundamentals of cooking, like how to roast a piece of meat and make hollandaise sauce.
However, Keller's very first job in the field was as a dishwasher. He explains, "You think about organization, efficiency, feedback, teamwork, repetition, and rituals — it's exactly what a cook does, so that act of washing dishes really set the stage for me to become a really good cook."
Keller says his mother was his primary motivator toward pursuing his culinary aspirations before he had professional mentors. He believes that his mother's dedicated attention to detail is a quality she passed onto him.
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