Can’t score one of those nearly-impossible-to-get reservations at Thomas Keller’s revered The French Laundry? The Bocuse d’Or Foundation can get you in on Labor Day—for the whole weekend. The tab to rub elbows with chef Keller for three days at his home base in Yountville, CA: $2,750 per person, $1,000 of which is tax deductible. It’s the rarest of opportunities. Are you in?
Many who have been lucky enough to eat a meal at Keller’s three-Michelin-star flagship in Yountville, CA, call it the meal of a lifetime—a lifetime also being how long the average Joe has to wait before getting a reservation there. But now anyone who can fork over $2,750 per person (($5,250 per couple) for the Bocuse d’Or Foundation’s “Labor Day Weekend with Chef Thomas Keller” event coming up on Sept. 3-5, 2010 can have a French Laundry experience like no other.
Keller is a leader in the effort to upgrade U.S. participation in the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition. He’s also president of the Bocuse d’Or foundation, and he’s pulling out all the stops for this fundraiser. Get a load of the itinerary.
On 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, Keller will welcome guests and lead a tour of the French Laundry’s Culinary Garden. One hour later will come cocktails and dinner from Keller’s Bouchon restaurant, served in the Culinary Garden with Keller on hand. There’ll be live entertainment, too. It’s the first time he has hosted a dinner there.
Saturday, Sept. 4’s events starts off at 11 a.m. with Keller conducting a culinary demo at CIA Greystone. After a free afternoon in Yountville, there’s a 6:30 p.m. reception in the courtyard of the French Laundry, followed by dinner inside featuring the restaurant’s signature nine-course chef’s tasting.
The weekend concludes on Sunday, Sept. 5 with an 11 a.m. casual Sunday brunch at Keller’s casual restaurant, Ad Hoc.
Ticket prices include all meals, wine and beverages, plus complimentary transport to the Culinary Institute of America for Saturday morning’s demo. Guests are on their own for lodging; event organizers suggest the Bardessono in Yountville.
Schedule and budget permitting, it’s hard to think of anyone in the restaurant world who wouldn’t want to get in on this event. Two caveats: You have to pay with an American Express card. And resale is not permitted. Other than that, it’s first-come first-served.
So where exactly is the money going? The next edition of the Bocuse d’Or will take place on Jan. 25-26, 2011 in Lyon, France. James Kent, sous-chef at Eleven Madison Park in New York, will represent the U.S. This event is a fundraiser whose proceeds will support Kent’s training and travel.