|The French Laundry - Temporary Kitchen - Yountville, CA||2015||Hospitality||Completed|
The renovation of the The French Laundry kitchen coincides with its 20th anniversary. More than simply a face-lift, the renovation is a commitment by Chef Keller and his team to continually aim themselves toward the moving target of perfection.
Mid-way into the design Journal, we came to understand not only Chef Keller’s design needs but the business needs of The French Laundry. We realized that our experience in interim strategies (see: PROXY and NOW Hunters Point) could be used to activate what normally would have been a fallow period of time for the restaurant.
Modular units were placed on the current historical garden and clad in a permeable skin that wraps the public-facing surfaces. The Journal of creating the temporary kitchen was similar to putting a “kitchen in a bottle”: all of the original kitchen equipment was transferred to the temporary space while perfectly retaining the functional configurations that are familiar to the kitchen staff.
A thirty-foot-wide ribbon window gives chefs a view of Washington Street and the agricultural garden across the street, while also giving guests a sneak peak into the kitchen operations. This idea of two-way communication between patrons and chefs will be carried through to the renovated kitchen.
The temporary kitchen allows for The French Laundry to retain its staff and allows for continuity between the old and new kitchens. It also allows for The French Laundry’s trademark service to commence several months before the final renovation is complete, with any back-of-house changes undetectable by guests. By embracing an interim solution, The French Laundry is also able to continue to the support the local, tourism-driven Yountville economy.
Photos 1 + 2 © Jon McNeal
Photos 3 + 4 © Oscar De La Villa Jr.