Thomas Keller’s TV Dinners

A Bloomberg article about
Thomas Keller’s burgeoning food empire (bistros! an inn! bakeries!) mentioned something in passing that has some bloggers scratching their heads: Keller is hawking a line of frozen foods. True, these are high-end sous vide, or “cryovacked,” entrées done in collaboration with Cuisine Solutions, and Keller has only approved two meals: “mac and cheese” lobster with orzo, and monkfish stew with oyster mushrooms, pearl onions, and root vegetables. The lobster’s $16.95, and the stew is $17.95. Clearly, we’re not talking Wolfgang-style frozen aisle dominance here.

Still, the worry is that Keller is spreading himself too thin, and that the French Laundry and Per Se will suffer. The Bloomberg piece quotes Ruth Reichl fretting,

You have to expect that with your attention that diverted, you’re not going to be able to keep the quality. I just don’t think that’s possible.

Ryan Tate at the blog Covers rounds up some of the commentary on Keller’s juggling act, and summarizes the Bloomberg article nicely.

As usual, though, Derrick Schneider over at An Obsession with Food & Wine comes up with the best headline: “Thomas Keller’s Frozen Food. What the Puck?”