The French Laundry

The French Laundry is a three-Michelin-star French and Californian cuisine restaurant located in Yountville, California, in the Napa Valley. Sally Schmitt opened The French Laundry in 1978 and designed her menus around local, seasonal ingredients; she was a visionary chef and pioneer of California cuisine. Since 1994, the chef and owner of The French Laundry is Thomas Keller. The restaurant building dates from 1900 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978

The building was constructed as a saloon in 1896 by a Scottish stonesman for Pierre Guillaume.[4] In the 1920s, the building was owned by John Lande who used it as a French steam laundry, which is the origin of the restaurant’s name.

In 1978, Sally Schmitt and her husband Don purchased the building and renovated it into a restaurant. They kept the name, the French Laundry, because locals still referred to the building as such. The French Laundry was one of the first restaurants to offer what would become known as California cuisine. The Schmitts ran the restaurant for 17 years before selling it to Thomas Keller in 1994.

In 1999, Keller published The French Laundry Cookbook, which he considers his definitive book on cuisine. That year it won three International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) awards for Cookbook of the Year, Julia Child “First Cookbook” Award, and Design Award.

In July 2014, the Napa Valley restaurant celebrated its 20th anniversary with a six-hour feast for friends, locals, and luminaries and temporarily closed for renovations before the end of the year.

In December 2014, while being temporarily closed for renovations, The French Laundry wine cellar was robbed of an estimated $500,000 of wine. Most of the wine was subsequently recovered.

On April 7, 2015, the restaurant reopened following demolition of a number of buildings on the site. During the remainder of the renovation project, the staff worked out of a temporary kitchen.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, The French Laundry closed and re-opened several times, and faced restrictions such as limited seating.

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