Chef Thomas Keller considers the renovation of The French Laundry more of a rebuild; a way to expand and modernize the existing space for employees and guests to be able to continue to have the best possible experience at the restaurant. Inspired by The Louvre, the renovation juxtaposes the original French Laundry space with a contemporary building designed by Craig Dykers of Snøhetta.
The world-class kitchen now matches the French Laundry’s reputation and includes elevated workstations, solar panels, and Dekton walls, countertops, and workbenches. The Dekton surfacing provides The French Laundry team with a kitchen both easy to clean and extremely resistant to the spills, heat, and other wear and tear that comes with cooking in a busy restaurant.
Interview with Thomas Keller
Tell us your inspiration behind the “The French Laundry?”
The French Laundry goes way back, it was built as a saloon here in the town of Yountville. A young French couple bought the building and opened a steam laundry there. When I bought it in 1994, I wanted to maintain it’s history and tradition, so we kept calling it The French Laundry.
What drove you to a more contemporary design?
The renovation was more about a rebuild, it was really about redefining the future of the restaurant. Our goal was to create a workspace where individuals could thrive. Our new building is very contemporary, where as the prior building was much more traditional. The juxtaposition between the old and the new was inspired by The Louvre. The tradition was to invite guests back to the kitchen, when I bought the restaurant I wanted to make sure I maintained some of the traditions. This kitchen affords us the opportunity to have our guests come in to the kitchen and be able to spend some time there without feeling like they’re in the way.
Why did you decide to incorporate Dekton in your design?
We chose Dekton for a number of different reasons; number one, it has high resistance to heat, which is great. It’s extremely durable, it resists scratches very well and of course, stains, and it’s actually stain proof. From an aesthetic point of views, its quite beautiful, quite stunning, I should say when you walk in. All of the walls as well as all of the work-benches are done in Dekton.