FALL 2017

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and Palm Springs. But in this crowd, food trumped golf. A "master chef, custom-cre- ated dinner for 15" from Roy Yamaguchi, Victor Gielesse and Tom Vaccaro brought two accepted bids of $20,000 each. A three- day tour of Keller's three Yountville restau- rants for four—along with two nights at Bardessono Hotel—also brought two $16,000 bids. To Keller, when it comes to fine dining or golf it's not what you're doing or where, but the company that you keep. "The most important decision when you walk into The French Laundry or any restaurant of mine is, who are you going to go with?" Keller said. "Because you don't want to spend three-and-a-half hours with someone you don't want to go with, God forbid. It's about those individuals and how they experience each other within the context of the food and the wine." To Keller, the dining experience corre- lates to golf quite well. "It's the idea of camaraderie that is just extraordinary," he said. "You could be with people you just met, but by the time it's over you do know them. After 20 minutes, you lose the small talk. There has to be some connectivity." Keller is well-known in golf circles. He helps with food preparation for the Honda Classic, thanks to his friendship with Jack Nicklaus and he plays up to six pro-am events a year on the PGA Tour, including at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February and the Safeway Open at Silver- ado in October. In May, at the AT&T Byron Nelson near Dallas, six-time tour winner Hunter Mahan saw Keller in the locker room and cracked, "Hey, Thomas, are you on Tour?" Back at Keller's first pro-am at the 2010 BMW Championship outside Chicago, his group drew tour pro Charley Hoffman. Hoffman's swing coach, Shawn Callahan, and Hoffman's brother were among the gallery following the group. Nerves got the better of Keller's game and he described his performance as "embarrassing and humiliating." But his mood lifted when the sun came out, and he donned a cap with The French Laundry logo. What happened next is a moment he'll never forget. "Shawn comes running over and asks, 'Where'd you get that hat? Do you know anyone at French Laundry? Charley's been trying to get in for years. We go to Keller's restaurant in Las Vegas all the time,' " Keller said, recounting Callahan's child-like enthusiasm before breaking into laughter. "The redeeming value from that experi- ence is Charley has since celebrated his birthday at The French Laundry." The chef has played in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am twice, a course he considers in highest regard. "We try to find analogies with The French Laundry and for me Pebble is my favorite course because of the tradition, the history and its location," he said. "The walk, the natural beauty. Every- where. It is stunning." In his last pro-am there he played with pros Brooks Koepka and Danny Lee and amateur Heidi Ueberroth, daughter of Pebble Beach Company co-owner Peter Ueberroth. Peter and his wife Ginny walked with the group when they played Pebble Beach during Saturday's third round, meaning they were among the "A-list" celebrity groups in which higher handicap- 38 FALL 2017 | NCGA.ORG LOBSTER ROLL Ingredients: – 1.5 lbs. of cooked lobster – 3-4 tbsp. mayonnaise – 2 tbsp. minced red onion – 2 tbsp. finely chopped peeled celery – 2 tsp. finely chopped tarragon – 2 tsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley – 2 tsp. finely chopped chives – Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – Half a lime – 6 New England-style (top-slit) hot dog buns, preferably unsliced – 4 tbsp. (2 ozs.) unsalted butter, melted – 1 celery stalk – 1 head of butter lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, dried, and torn into pieces – Pickled red onions. Preparation: Put the lobster meat in a large bowl, add the mayonnaise and stir gently to coat. Add the onion, celery, tarragon, parsley, olives, salt and pepper to taste, and stir gently to mix. Squeeze the lime over the salad and fold in the juice, cover and refrigerate. If using the slit buns, brush butter on both outer sides of each bun. If using unsliced buns, slit them open from the top, then trim each long side to create a flat surface and brush with melted butter. If using regular hot dug buns, open the buns and brush with butter. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Just before serving, put the rolls in the pan and brown the buttered sides. To serve, peel the strings from the celery with a vegetable peeler. Using a Japanese mandolin—or other vegetable slicer—or a sharp knife, slice the celery lengthwise into thin ribbons. Line each bun with a couple of small pieces of lettuce. Mound the lobster salad in the buns and garnish with the celery and pickled red onions. Serves 4 to 6. Reprinted with permission from Keller's cookbook, "Ad Hoc at Home: Family-Style Recipes." Chef Thomas Keller's world-famous lobster roll is a delicacy at the PGA Tour's Safeway Open in Napa. Here Keller explains you to make them at home. BOB MCCLENAHAN DAVID ESCALANTE

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