The American chef, whose restaurant The French Laundry in California topped The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2003 and 2004, was awarded for ‘his graciousness, collaborative nature and enduring ability to inspire culinary perfection. He joins the likes of Eckhart Witzigmann, Albert and Michel Roux, and Paul Bocuse as a recipient of the accolade.
“I am extremely honoured to have been selected to receive this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Keller. “But what I am most excited about is the opportunity to celebrate this recognition with my friends and colleagues after the event.
“We’ve pushed the envelope and inspired each other through the years – we are all in this together.”
The Academy, which includes 27 Chairs from around the world and an 837-strong panel, voted on the award. Keller will be presented at The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards ceremony on 30 April, held at London’s Guildhall.
William Drew, editor of Restaurant magazine, added: “Chef Keller has long been an inspirational figure in the restaurant world – not just to the numerous chefs that have worked under him but to many others who have tasted his wonderful food or simply admired it from afar.
“His restaurants' ever-presence on the World's 50 Best list is a testament in itself to the enduring brilliance of this most respected of culinary masters.”
Per Se, which opened in New York in 2004, is Keller's 'urban interpretation' of The French Laundry. With two three-starred restaurants on opposite coasts, Keller has passed day-to-day cooking responsibilities over to his respective chefs de cuisine, but his philosophy, influence and presence still dominates both restaurants. Last year, he launched a pop-up version of the three-Michelin starred The French Laundry at Harrods.
Earlier this month, Elena Arzak was unveiled as the winner of the Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef Award 2012 by The Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Awards. Her father and co-owner of their Arzak restaurant in Spain, Juan Mari, was last year’s winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
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You can also watch the awards live via The World's 50 Best Restaurants website.