A Morning with Thomas Keller: Ad Hoc at Home Book Signing

by arnold on December 6, 2009

Ad Hoc hosted a special book signing event called “A Morning with Thomas Keller” at the restaurant yesterday, and I was lucky enough to get an invitation. Chef Keller spent the morning signing Ad Hoc at Home cookbooks alongside Ad Hoc Chef de Cuisine Dave Cruz as the Ad Hoc staff served up hors d’oeuvres featuring selected recipes from the cookbook.

InvitationThe Invitation

It was an exciting day for me because I finally got to meet Thomas Keller and shake the hand of a man whose restaurants have changed my life. As I’ve written before, my first meal at Ad Hoc in June 2007 was a major culinary epiphany for me. It changed the way I thought about how food was prepared and sourced, and it made me appreciate a level of dining that I normally would’ve avoided based solely on cost.

Plowing through booksAd Hoc Chef de Cuisine Dave Cruz (left) and Chef Thomas Keller

When I approached the table, Chef Cruz leaned over and told Chef Keller about my blog and the Ad Hoc Menu Archive. I told Chef Keller about our dinner at the brand-new Bouchon Beverly Hills last weekend (took my mom for her birthday), and he was glad to know we had a great dinner. I also let him know that the entire city of Los Angeles is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Bouchon Bakery. He didn’t really respond to that, but I think he knows that LA wants that bakery. :)

Meeting Thomas Keller...Is he really interested in what I’m saying or does he think I’m a crazy fanboy?

In the end, Chef Keller shook my hand, thanked me for all the support and graciously posed for a picture. Thanks, Simone for snapping this pic. :)

I think this moment could only be topped if I ever met Magic Johnson. :)

Now that that’s out of the way…on to the food! The first thing we were offered were the Albondigas, a veal meatball atop a tomato compote. Unfortunately, I was too busy devouring these to take a picture. Here’s the rest of the spread…

Toast with Fig JamToast with Fig Jam

It’s not really an Ad Hoc party without some fried chicken.

Fried Chicken LollipopsFried Chicken Lollipops
Beef StroganoffA bit of beef stroganoff.

The ratatouille was a simple and brilliant spoonful of soffrito topped with tomato confit, eggplant confit, and zucchini confit.

RatatouilleRatatouille as you’ve never seen it before.

The lemon bars were like mini lemon meringue pies but also reminded me one of my favorite desserts, Bouchon’s Tarte au Citron.

Lemon BarsPerfect Little Lemon Bars

What more do you need when there’s chocolate cupcakes?

Chocolate CupcakesChocolate Cupcakes

Overall, it was a really fun event, and I was honored to have been invited. Thanks to everyone at Ad Hoc for always making me feel at home. Here’s the full set of pictures:



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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie - Wasabimon December 6, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Nice!!

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MyLastBite December 6, 2009 at 4:16 pm

“Crazy Fan Boy” LOL!

What does that make me? (Chef Stalker Fan Girl?)

What a fun day!!!!

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lainie December 6, 2009 at 4:43 pm

ha! You look so happy! So glad you got to meet one of your idols. . how great is that. I think Keller looks like he’s saying “this crazy fan boy is interesting.” :p

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mike December 6, 2009 at 6:32 pm

love it!

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Mel December 6, 2009 at 8:02 pm

YOU LUCKY BUM!

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Joseph Bayot December 6, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Congrats Arnold =)

That fried chicken always looks soooo good. I can’t wait until the next time I’m in the area. I’m definitely going to do my Thomas Keller Restaurant Group food tour.

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Connie December 6, 2009 at 9:19 pm

That’s awesome!!! You’re right about the ratatouille brilliance, and it is so quintessential Thomas Keller, love it. Can’t wait to go eat there one day already! Thanks for sharing all this.

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Margie December 7, 2009 at 9:19 am

Long time reader, first time commenter.

Mr. Keller will be here (Houston) for a book signing on Thursday and I am so excited.

Good pics and thanks for blogging.

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Phil December 7, 2009 at 10:15 am

This is awesome, and I have complete appreciation for how excited you were to meet Chef Keller. I’m a big fan of his, but you seem to be a HUGE fan.

I met Tony Bourdain when he signed his Les Halles Cookbook years ago, and it was one of the coolest days of my life, especially since he actually turned out to be as cool as I thought he was.

Also, the Ad Hoc at Home book is excellent. Everything I’ve made from it so far has been off-the-charts delicious, and the precision technique in almost every dish has made cooking an exciting experience again and reminds me why I love doing it. Definitely a cookbook worth its weight.

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Single Guy Ben December 7, 2009 at 11:32 am

I went to Keller’s book signing at Omnivore which was crowded and didn’t have any food. :( Still, Chef Keller was gracious with everyone. That book is heavy! Looks like you had a fun time!

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Carolyn Jung December 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I can’t believe I missed you there. Now that I see your photos, I think I do recall seeing you there. Drat! Next time, we’ll have to plan better so we can say hello in person. Awesome food at the event, wasn’t it? Totally dug the beef stroganoff. Must make that recipe! ;)

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Lando December 7, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Awesome event coverage Arnold. You can’t beat that combo of meeting Thomas Keller and enjoying the food there.

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Kim December 8, 2009 at 12:25 pm

This was a great day.

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Fuji Mama December 14, 2009 at 10:09 am

HOW FUN! Lucky you! “Crazy Fan Boy” sounds like a compliment in my opinion…should we start calling you CFB?

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Paul December 14, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Congrats on getting to meet him Arnie. It sounds like a dream come true for you.

I second the new nickname for Arnie. CFB it is…lol.

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Peg S December 17, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Wondering what you’ve been up to lately (a friend just now randomly forwarded me your post on Chocolatier Blue) – meeting Thomas Keller no less! As an Ad Hoc devotee myself, absolutely love this blog entry!

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bakery adelaide February 2, 2013 at 3:07 am

How these bakeries make chocolate cakes, i have tried so much but mine never tastes like them, i think that’s why these bakeries are there, or is they have some heavy ovens different from residentials ones.

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