The first American featured on this list of best chefs, Thomas Keller grew up in South Florida working at the same Palm Beach restaurant where his mother worked. Keller moved to France in 1983 and found himself working at the Michelin-starred Guy Savoy and Taillevent restaurants in Paris.
After just three years, Keller returned to the States to open his first restaurant in New York City before leaving it behind for sunny California to serve as executive chef at the Checkers Hotel. In less than a decade, Keller had the opportunity to take over Napa Valley’s The French Laundry.
He continued to open additional restaurants and bakeries, including the Bouchon Bakery, Ad Hoc and Per Se. (You’ll find Bouchon Bakery spread across the country with locations in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles, and Per Se in New York.) Per Se went on to receive three Michelin stars, Bouchon Bakery holds one star and Ad Hoc also received three stars, at one point giving Keller seven stars in the same year.