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What you have in common with Thomas Keller: In-N-Out

Google “Thomas Keller” and you’ll turn up 774,000 results. So what can I tell you that you don’t already know about the celebrity chef who made Yountville a town worthy of food pilgrimage? Well, there’s the In-N-Out thing. Google “Thomas Keller and In-N-Out Burgers” and you’ll get only 32, 600 results. Which means, by my quick calculations, that many of you may not know that the VFC (very famous chef) who “invented” such dishes as oysters and pearls (oysters set in savory tapioca) and salmon tartare cornets (fashioned after ice cream cones) also really likes In-N-Out burgers. His standard order? Standard cheeseburger, fries well-done (“Because,” he says, “at least then they’re crisp.”). Nothing animal-style for TK.

Keller has been on a coast-to-coast book tour celebrating the release of his latest big, glossy book, Under Pressure, devoted to demystifying the art and science behind sous-vide cooking, which is essentially a fancy version of boil-in-the-bag cookery. The book looks like his first two (The French Laundry Cookbook and Bouchon) in size, with the same gorgeous photography by Deborah Jones. And though Keller may be appearing on the Today show, at the local Sur la Table and in bookstores all across America, he’s quick to say that this is not a book for home cooks. And he’s not lying, either. This is a book for professionals and enthusiasts, and for the select few out there who will shell out the $2900 for the necessary equipment.

Home cooks should wait for his next cookbook, slated for release next fall, that draws from the approachable recipes of Ad Hoc, his casual restaurant down the street from French Laundry that serves one set home-style menu nightly. And what else does the Keller have on his plate? A second Bouchon Bistro will soon be opening in Beverly Hills and he’s still trying to get his "Burgers and Half Bottles" project off the ground in Yountville. But what about something here in SF? Says Keller, “It’s a special city, and we came close to having something here last year. I love San Francisco as much as I love New York, but it just has to be the right thing.” Until Keller opens something in our fair city, the chef steers us towards his favorite places in town: Delfina, Quince, La Taqueria and Chez Panisse, which he says, “Keeps getting better. There aren’t a lot of places that could put a perfect peach on a plate and call it dessert. Alice has standards, and everyone works to meet those standards every day.” Standards—something we’re pretty sure Thomas Keller knows all about.