Thomas Keller, the U.S. chef who holds seven Michelin stars, plans to create a pop-up version of his French Laundry restaurant at Harrods in London serving a 250 pound ($400), nine-course menu for lunch and dinner.
Keller, 55, will bring 14 staff members from the Yountville, California, original for the 10-day event, which starts on Oct. 1. The French Laundry at Harrods will be housed on the fourth floor of the Knightsbridge department store.
“Keller aims to recreate the French Laundry as faithfully as possible at Harrods and the temporary structure’s interior will be in keeping with the design ethos of the original restaurant, with fixtures, fittings and signature dinnerware flown over,” Harrods said today in an e-mailed release.
He follows other U.S. chefs into London. His friend Daniel Boulud opened Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental last year. (Keller earlier held talks with the hotel about putting a version of his Bouchon brasserie into that space.) Wolfgang Puck is scheduled to open his steak restaurant CUT at the Dorchester Collection’s new 45 Park Lane hotel on Sept. 1.
“Our collaboration is set to be the pinnacle in a year that will witness a number of exciting new restaurant launches and rejuvenations here at Harrods,” Paul Goodale, director of restaurants, said in the release. He didn’t elaborate.
The 250 pound cost will raise a few eyebrows. London has two restaurants with three Michelin stars: Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, where the top-priced menu is 180 pounds for seven courses; and Gordon Ramsay, where it’s 130 pounds for seven courses. The Chef’s Tasting Menu on the French Laundry website is $270.
The Harrods venue will seat 70, which equates to 35,000 pounds a day for food (including tax) if all the places are filled just once each for lunch and dinner.
“Crafted by Keller, based on his favorite ingredients, the menu will represent the very best of the French Laundry, including many dishes that have become classics in the U.S., as well as new creations for the U.K.,” the release said.
Booking opens on Sept. 1. The pop-up at Harrods follows the success of a temporary venue in 2009 at Selfridges, where Pierre Koffmann’s rooftop restaurant attracted thousands of diners.
“The most important thing is that you represent the kind of thing you do at home,” Keller told Bloomberg in April. “Whether it’s Thomas Keller or whoever coming over to do something temporary, your first expectation is that you’re going to recreate what you do at home in a significant way.”
His New York restaurant Per Se, like the French Laundry, holds three Michelin stars. The tasting menus at Per Se are $295, including service. Another Keller restaurant, Bouchon, in Yountville, has a Michelin star.
Keller, who first visited the U.K. in 1999, said he was impressed with the London restaurant scene and the emergence of a new generation of chefs that can be traced back to Albert and Michel Roux, founders of Le Gavroche.
(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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