Thomas Keller’s Finesse, The Store

Finesse products from Thomas Keller (photo by Deborah Jones)

Package and re-package or write and re-write – that is the mantra of many journalists who write an article and then re-write and sell the article a second, third, or fourth time. More people get to read it, and that’s the only way most freelance journalists make enough money to survive.

What about chefs?

Same thing.

Smart chefs open restaurants that people are clamoring to eat in, and then they tweak the concept (or not) and do it again. And again. If they get bored, well, they just add another concept and do that again. And again.

Thomas Keller is a smart chef.

Maybe he has borrowed a page out of Alain Ducasse’s playbook. Maybe he is trying something a bit different.

Ducasse opened be, his boulangerie-épicerie that carries Ducasse-approved products as well as Ducasse-produced products.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Thomas Keller’s Yountville-based Finesse, The Store will carry mostly Keller-produced products – his books, kitchen tools, Cup4Cup line gluten-free flour:

Fans of the aforementioned Yountville restaurants will also be delighted by insider products like the same types of aprons and water bottles used by French Laundry staffers, for example – or perhaps T-shirts bearing a Bouchon logo.

Sounds a bit like the Disney Store rather than what Mario Batali has done with Eatily – which is to extend his brand by importing great Italian food. Or what Cathal Armstrong has done with Society Fair – importing fine Irish food and products. Still, because Yountville has so many Keller properties, The French Laundry, Bouchon and Ad Hoc, there may really be a need for a fan store, rather than Keller-approved products from the farms, dairies, and producers he sources from.

Super Chef predicts a growing trend of free-standing chef-run stores that feature chef products and chef-chosen products.

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