It appears Thomas Keller is not involved with the rumored Le Bec-Fin takeover, after all. Eater Philly just got off the phone with Kristine Keefer, Director of Communications of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, who said that TKRG is not taking over Le Bec-Fin, nor are they involved with Perrier or the restaurant at all.
"I know that Nic Fanucci (GM of The French Laundry) is in talks with Perrier about Le Bec-Fin, but it has nothing to do with us," said Keefer. "It would be a personal endeavor for Fanucci, and would not involve us at all."
When we asked if Eli Kaimeh, Chef de Cuisine of Per Se and the rumored successor to Nick Elmi at LBF, would be coming here, she added: "Absolutely not. He is very happy with his position at Per Se. Anyone that is headed there would have nothing to do with our restaurant group."
The rumors that speculated Kaimeh's arrival were based on his recent trip to The French Laundry, but Keefer said that all of the chefs in the Keller ranks go for training two weeks early in the calendar year.
Keefer went on to say that nothing has been finalized to this point even with Fanucci and Le Bec-Fin, and that any announcement would not include Keller. She restated that the Keller Group is not in expansion mode, and was not going to be in the near future. When asked if Fanucci taking on this project meant he was leaving TKRG, Keefer responded that "it would surely be a lot to take on."
Sorry Philly, seems like Georges is being Georges again. But, let's not throw too much water on the fire, as Fanucci is a big-timer at TKRG, and will surely bring some sparks when the changeover happens. Look for the new LBF chef to be someone in the current or former Per Se ranks, but none of the headliners.