WSJ: One of the World’s Best Restaurants Gets an Update
January 17, 2017
“FOUR YEARS AGO we started out with the idea that we were only going to remodel the wine cellar,” says a smiling Thomas Keller, standing outside the French Laundry, his landmark three-Michelin-star restaurant in Yountville, California. Dressed in tailored black trousers, leather clogs and his customary bespoke Isaia chef’s coat, Keller, 61, surveys what has become a much larger construction site.
Six buildings have now been demolished on the restaurant’s half-acre campus to make room for a new 1,981-square-foot kitchen; a separate 2,120-square-foot annex for offices, an area for butchering and 16,000 bottles of wine; and 9,000 square feet of fresh landscape design, including a new dedicated pathway onto the property that leads into the dining room.
To enter the restaurant, guests will first pass through a row of Japanese maple trees and an openair threshold cut into a wall made from local basalt. Beyond that, they’ll see the kitchen, skinned with contrasting materials. On the left: panels of fritted glass. On the right: gray-brown wood treated with a Japanese scorching technique known as shou sugi ban. “That wood is never painted,” explains Keller. “It’s beautiful because of the way it’s burned.” Read More Here