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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Keep Dreaming

Dreams fire our imaginations but a dream without action goes cold. Thomas was broke when he saw the location he now owns and by taking action he kept the dream alive.     More...

Key Question:


Decide what you really want then go after it. 

When Chef Thomas saw the charming building in Yountville, California where diners now get in line, he fell in love.  He told us he couldn't stop thinking about the building.  He begged the owners not to sell it to anyone else and that he would find the money to buy it.  When he made this promise, he was broke.  Really.

Thomas did not just dream about owing his own building and restaurant, he put his plan in writing and took it to an an attorney who had advised chefs in the past.  Using experts may seem expensive but in the long run you'll be glad you did. This particular expert helped Thomas move quickly to his goal.

It took imagination, courage, and tenacity to win everybody to his idea, but Chef Thomas Keller did it.   Soak this clip up into your very being.  

Take initiative, learn everything while you have a job and click on the question for more from others who have done what you want to do.

Click on the question for more answers.

Think about it

What experts do you need to locate and hire? What dream are you stuck on? What action do you need to take?

Clip from: The French Laundry with Chef Thomas Keller

Yountville, Napa Valley, California: He took a little-known restaurant in a little town and turned it into one of the most famous places in the world.  Le Monde said (paraphrased), "Can it be possible that the best French restaurant is not  in France but ...California?" 

Visit The French Laundry and the man who made it come to life, Chef Thomas Keller.  He now also owns Per Se in New York City, and Bouchon in Yountville and in Las Vegas.  To accomplish this growth, he has recruited, hired and trained some of the best chefs and service people in the country.

Writer Irvine Welsh had this to say about dining at The French Laundry,  "...I salivate now as I think of the Truffle-pickled Hen Eggs with 'its creamy yellow' and Chopped Black Truffles.  ...obviously, the title of 'best restaurant in the world' is subjective to the point of lunacy. Having said that, I doubt it would be possible for The French Laundry to be equaled.

...Thomas Keller is a true giant among chefs, coming over as a genuinely inspirational figure, and to see him in action in his kitchen is pure joy."

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French Laundry

Thomas Keller, Owner

6640 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599

Visit our web site:

Office: 707.944.2380

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Keep Dreaming

HATTIE: How did you close the gap between the dream and the actuality?

THOMAS: I found the restaurant. The restaurant was closed. I came onto the property and I said, `Wow, this is it. This is magical. This is the place that I want to be. It reminds me of France. It could be anywhere.'

So I went home, I went back to LA, and I thought about it for a couple of days, and I called the owners on the phone. I said, `My name's Thomas Keller. I'd like to fly up and I'd like to introduce myself and show you who I am, and maybe talk about purchasing your restaurant.'

Don and Sally Schmidt were the previous owners. They said, `Sure, come on up.' They were the kind of people, also, that wanted to find the right person to buy the restaurant. They weren't just--they weren't the kind of people who were just looking to sell the restaurant.

And finally, I put together a prospectus of probably 300 pages. And I found an attorney that did this kind of work in LA. He wasn't a restaurant attorney, but he was a man who enjoyed great food and great wine, and his clients--his restaurant clients, were well known, or at least well known to me. So I went to him with my prospectus, and a bottle of EVO, and I said......

HATTIE: Oh, you go with the olive oil.

THOMAS: With olive oil, right, because, again, remember, I have no money.: I had no money. I'm living off--basically I'm living off my credit cards... ...which is kind of embarrassing.

HATTIE: So you financed it on your credit cards at the beginning.

THOMAS: Basically.

HATTIE: Because you're living on that.

THOMAS: Right. Because I'm living on that. And I take him this prospectus, and I say, you know, `Bob, this is'--this is another Bob in the project, I said, `This is my idea. It's a great opportunity.' `You know, this is my prospectus.' He was very impressed. He said, `You know, I've dealt with three or four other chefs who have done this, and none of them have ever come to me as well-prepared as you've come.'

And I think that was key in getting him on board. And he said, `Fine, so, you know, I'm impressed. I'll write this document for you, and this is how much it's going to cost you.'

HATTIE: And then you said...

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