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Thomas Keller gets the butter for his

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 17, 2005

Thomas Keller gets the butter for his restaurants from 6 cows in Vermont. The woman who owns them sells more than 80% of her butter to Keller: “When you’re small you can have a relationship with the people who buy your food. The reason I’m not big is because I’m a perfectionist. I’ve got to sell to someone who is the same way.”

Reader comments

Danny CohenOct 17, 2005 at 11:31AM

One might say that he needs to get over himself, it’s just butter. But on the other hand, every ingredient counts when you are going into making something just perfect….

it does put a whole lot of pressure onto those 6 cows.

jojoOct 17, 2005 at 11:48AM

It also puts a whole lot of pressure on the woman - if Keller decides to buy elsewhere, quits, or goes out of business, her butter business melts.

PatrickOct 17, 2005 at 12:06PM

Maybe, but for such a small-scale high quality product, I’m sure she would have no problems shopping it to another high-end restaurant if Keller finds a better source. And note it’s just the table butter - high volume restaurants can go through Ms. St Clair’s weekly butter production in the kitchen in a few days.

krismcOct 17, 2005 at 12:25PM

That rocks. I would never have the focus to be that obsessive about something like butter, but I’m glad there are people like Keller who are.

As for the woman’s business if Keller goes elsewhere, I’m sure there’s a long list of restaurants who would be proud to advertise that they use Thomas Keller’s former butter supplier. And you just *know* it would be mentioned somewhere on the menu.

MegOct 17, 2005 at 1:00PM

I’m worried about the impact of being the “former” butter supplier….

KalebergOct 17, 2005 at 4:05PM

Horn and Hardart, the old Automat, used milk, cream and butter from the owner’s Ayrshire herd in Pennsylvania. She had several hundred cows and a modern, circa 1930s, dairy. Ayrshires are known in Italy as red cows, and there is a really good Rosso parmesan cheese made from their milk. If you are lucky, maybe you can find some at Murray’s or Artisanal. In the old days, all you had to do was go to the Automat.

jojoOct 17, 2005 at 11:43PM

If the woman’s butter is so, well, ‘like butter,’ - wouldn’t she already have those other restaurants knocking on her door? She should expand her business so as not to put all her eggs in one basket. I’m not saying she should become a huge dairy farm - just pointing out that relying on someone else for 80% of your business/liveliehood is not only “shortening” your business’ future, but pretty short sighted as well.

Now steering the comments back towards Keller’s restaurant.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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