What made Thomas Keller decide to become a chef?
I think it was my appreciation for rituals and repetition. Standing in front of the dish machine at my mother’s restaurant really taught me a lot about what I do without even realizing it at the time. It was those rituals of operating that dish machine, understanding how to be organized, how to be efficient—the fact that you were a part of a team and they all relied on you and you had to deliver the dishes to the chef and the glasses to the bar and the silverware to the waiters. It was very important to be able to interact with the entire group, as a team, in order to reach your goal, which was to give the guest the experience. Repetition—doing something over and over and over again—makes you get good at it, and as a cook that is what our lives are about. It’s about that repetition—going to work every day and doing the same thing, it’s not always something new. There are those moments when you get to explore new avenues or learn new things, but even they – after a while – become a part of that repetition and ritual.