Thomas Keller is nothing short of a Culinary God. Heard of the French Laundry? Yeah - that's him. When we got word that he would be making an appearance for a book signing at the Williams Sonoma in Providence Place, Anna and I very quickly added it to our calendars - we simply could not miss it. Now, we've had some experience with book signings - our last adventure was to see Ms. Martha at RJ Julia Booksellers last Summer, where we waited in line for nearly 3 hours with 400 other crazy women - quite the experience as you might imagine. Well, lesson learned, right? We didn't want to wait for 5 hours to see Thomas Keller if we could avoid it (let me stress that 'if we could avoid it part' - I'm not sure how long of a wait it would take to deter us from seeing THOMAS KELLER!). So, we got there early, bought our copies of his newest tome ad hoc at home, and took our spot in the queue behind about 50 people (victory!). While waiting, we were treated to some miniature cupcakes, freshly baked by the Williams Sonoma staff - how thoughtful! Not surprisingly, they were delicious! We were surprised, however, to find out that they were made from a packaged mix - Thomas Keller now has a line of baking products - amazing.
As if the cupcakes were not enough of a thoughtful touch, imagine our surprise when about 30 minutes prior to the book signing, Mr. Keller himself was walking down the line of eagerly waiting devotees and shaking hands and saying hello. AHHHHH! We did our best not to stumble over words and make fools of ourselves,
but I'm pretty sure we blushed like a couple of school girls.
Anyway, soon enough we were next in line. We watched as Chef Keller spent no less than 5 full minutes with the sweetest family of 5 talking about Ratatouille and signing the children's copies of the dvd and mom and dad's French Laundry cookbook. And then, well, I think I nearly blacked out when he said my name and asked what I'd like written in the book, and if I'd like to take a picture. To which I not-so-steadily replied:
and... can I wear your James Beard Award while we take the picture?' (joking, of course). Well, before I knew it, he stood up and slipped the medal around my neck. HE PUT HIS JAMES BEARD AWARD ON ME. Can you believe it? I can't. I think it shows pretty clearly in this ridiculous picture - I was smiling so hard my face hurt!
And THEN, as if it couldn't get any better, it was Anna's turn for signing and picturing with THOMAS KELLER. And you know what? He put the award on her too! Oh, so amazing.
So there you have it. The man, the myth, the legend Thomas Keller couldn't have been nicer or
more thoughtful and all around fabulous. We're pretty sure that had we invited him back to Connecticut for some impromptu dinner at Gourmet Galley, he would have come - he's just that cool. Next time, we will!
Just goes to show - you can never underestimate the power of asking!