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Nine of the Spiciest Responses to Celebrity Chef Thomas Keller’s New White House Gig

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The White House’s Economic Council for Restaurants is an all-male, nearly all white group of folks that Keller is “honored” to join

Starwood Preferred Guest Hosts Gourmet Experience Of A Lifetime With Chef Thomas Keller At Per Se For Luck SPG Members, Courtesy Of SPG Moments
A group of men including celebrity chef Thomas Keller (above) will advise President Trump on the revival of the restaurant industry
Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Starwood Preferred Guest

Celebrity chef Thomas Keller, the owner of world renowned Yountville restaurants the French Laundry, Ad Hoc, and Bouchon (as well as numerous other restaurants across the U.S.), is one of only four independent restaurateurs who were named to the White House’s Economic Council for Restaurants, Eater National reports Thursday morning. Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Daniel Boulud are the only other arguably (?) non-corporate names on the list of folks tasked with saving an industry devastated by the coronavirus crisis. (Incidentally. all four of these guys had a phone call with Trump just last week, suggesting perhaps that the net was not cast especially widely.)

As with any announcement associated with the current administration, the news was met with a combination of exasperation, irritation, and anger, a response perhaps enhanced by the news that the other participants on the so-called “Great American Economic Revival Industry Group” include a panoply of problematic chains like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A, and form a roster “nearly devoid of people of color, and entirely devoid of women,” Eater reports.

Seemingly oblivious to the negative reaction the council makeup might evoke, Keller tweeted Wednesday that he was “honored” to be named to the group, and that he is “proud to work together towards a strategy where the safety of Americans is top of mind in conjunction towards economic revitalization.”

Feel skeptical about any of that? You’re not alone, as these nine responses to Keller’s tweet illustrate.

Here’s Food and Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman, with some suggestions of who else to add to the group:

Chef/historian Thérèse Nelson also questions the lack of diversity on the list, as well as the dearth of folks who might understand the plight of rank-and-file industry workers.

Tech and design consultant Christina Wodtke doesn’t even think Keller should mess with the POTUS.

Jason Clampet, the co-founder of news app Skift, feels similarly.

Writer Matthew Kepnes questions Keller’s understanding of how the other half lives.

Writer Galena Mosovich tries to play to Keller’s pride as a chef.

Podcast host and food scribe Korsha Wilson is uncharacteristically speechless about the whole thing.

Ready for a conspiracy theory? Twitter user Lindsey46105454 has a good one. Tying together Keller’s role as consultant to a rodent-focused Pixar film and a rat that reportedly ran past the president during a briefing Wednesday, it’s suggested that the scurrying creature inspired Trump’s call to Keller.

It goes on like this (and on, and on), for nearly 700 responses as of publication time, with little positive feedback to be found, a phenomenon also noted by Toronto Star coronavirus columnist Bruce Arthur.

As of noon Thursday, Keller had not issued any subsequent tweets, nor had he responded to any of the hundreds of messages from his followers pleading that he reconsider.

The French Laundry

6640 Washington Street, , CA 94599 (707) 944-2380 Visit Website

Ad Hoc

6476 Washington Street, , CA 94599 (707) 944-2487 Visit Website