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Thomas Keller's World Domination Plans: Heavies Respond

Bloomberg published a story yesterday, somewhat widely linked, which reported that chef Thomas Keller is planning on expanding his empire in several directions by opening the Inn at French Laundry, Bouchon Boucherie, Burgers and Bottles, and a line of frozen foods. Keller has been talking about many of these projects for months and years -- the inn especially -- and he's made no secret his desire to cook burgers (mentioned, for example, in Aspen). But the article has caused a handful of the food world's biggies to weigh in on Keller's plans. Most people are highly skeptical of the plan. Ed Levine isn't. Here's what the people are saying:

Ruth Reichl: "You have to expect that with your attention that diverted, you're not going to be able to keep the quality..."I just don't think that's possible.'' [Bloomberg]

Ed Levine: "So I for one am confident that Keller will be able to pull this juggling act off. As I said, there may be some bumps in the road along the way, but remember. We are talking Thomas Keller and not Tyler Florence here." [SE]

Jean-Luc Naret, Michelin Guides: "They have to be focused on their flagship...Otherwise they will lose all the other parts.'' [Bloomberg]

Michael Bauer: "Once you get into frozen food and pizzas, your fine dining brand gets a little fuzzed out." [Bloomberg]

· French Laundry's Keller Takes Plunge With Frozen Foods, Burgers [Bloomberg]
· 2007 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen: The Future of Fine Dining [~E~]

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