There’s no shortage of restaurants drawing inspiration from the past, whether it’s the romance of Stephen Starr’s hyper-French Le Coucou, throwback Fowler and Wells, or Major Food Group’s The Grill — opening this week in what had been the Four Seasons. Now, Thomas Keller drops a few details about his Hudson Yards project and how his first restaurant in ten years has the Mad Men-era in the forefront.
The 200-seat restaurant slated to open in 2018 will be likely be called TAK Room. It “will reflect a time when the fanciest food in America was called continental cuisine,” according to the Times. It’ll be less expensive than French Laundry and Per Se, in part at the prompting of his friends who say it may be time to change.
In addition to Keller’s restaurant, Keller has chosen six chefs and restaurateurs to open restaurants alongside TAK Room, including UK restaurant group D&D London, chef Jose Andres, and Greek food restaurateur Costas Spiliadis — with expanded details expected to be announced any day now.
Here are some other details about the “exacting” chef in the piece:
He credits his partner Laura Cunningham with the style of his restaurants. She is “the architect of his restaurants’ precise, casually elegant style of service.”
He apparently pays attention to every detail. On a recent night, he noticed a thread hanging from the toque of a chef on the fish station caught, so he walked down the line and yanked it off.
He’s no longer into pushing “against convention.” In response to Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, Calif., Navi Kitchen in nearby Emeryville‘s suggestion to “go on your woke journey,” Keller says “I pushed against convention when I was young. Then you realize there is no reason to push against things. There is no value in it.”
He’s not sure he wants to be so hardcore about the industry anymore. “I go back and forth on the level of intensity I want to continue to dedicate to my profession, because I’ve done it now for the past 44 years, and that’s a long time. When is taking care of everybody else less important than taking care of yourself?”