The restaurant that reinvented Californian cooking has had a fresh spin
A century ago, the stone-and-timber building that now houses the French Laundry was an actual laundry – fitting for a place that helped wipe clean tired notions of haute cuisine. From its first service in 1994, under chef and owner Thomas Keller, this rustic retreat in Napa Valley made French fine dining seem playful, Californian. One dish – oysters and pearls – combined poached shellfish with caviar and tapioca zabaglione; another – salmon tartare in a flaky-pastry cone – was inspired by the chef's fondness for Baskin Robbins. Anthony Bourdain called it 'the best restaurant in the world, period'.