The French Laundry’s Thomas Keller is widely considered America’s finest chef. And like a lot of well known chefs, he’s had lucrative offers to open a restaurant in Abu Dhabi. But as he tells Eater.com, it didn’t work out, and for an interesting reason.
I was in Abu Dhabi a couple years ago with Daniel just looking around. What occurred to me is that they have no infrastructure for supporting restaurants. They all want restaurants but there’s no culinary schools, there’s no sourcing, I said, “Christ you guys put a frigging ski slope in a mall. Get fifty acres of land and make a farm! If you can do that for some ridiculous reason, you can make a sustainable farm. If you can make golf courses, you can create a beautiful farm.” Therein lies part of the infrastructure they should be creating and establishing if they want restaurants. They need to have schools, they need to have farms. With the wealth that they have, they can do it.