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Thomas Keller in the Frozen Food Aisle?

The man behind the Best Restaurant in America is surprising everyone with a new frozen food line. The folks at Bloomberg are reporting that Thomas Keller — owner of The French Laundry and Per Se — has designed and placed his name on two frozen dishes for FiveLeaf, a unit of Cuisine Solutions Inc. The first one, Mac and Cheese Lobster with Orzo will be pitched to retail stores soon.

In addition to his new frozen food line and two fancy pants fine dining establishments, Keller has two bistros, an American family-style spot, two bakeries and a catering operation. If this sounds like too much for one man to control, I might mention that Keller is also planning to open a meat shop, an inn at the French Laundry and a hamburger and wine restaurant.

When asked why he's willing to spread out his empire, Keller explained that it was mostly due to his staff. By creating advanced placement possibilities for his current employees.

"To maintain the consistency and quality of the staff, you have to give them opportunities."

However, all of this Keller leaves some food critics skeptical. San Francisco Chronicle editor Michael Bauer made comparisons to Wolfgang Puck and wondered if the fine dining brand could work with frozen food.

"Once you get into frozen food and pizzas, your fine dining brand gets a little fuzzed out."

Either way, I know I can't wait to try Keller's fancy mac and cheese, how about you?


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