"When we store the fish, we always store it the way it swims," explained Thomas Keller, holding a whole fish upright. "Storing a fish like this supports the filet in its natural shape."
The interviewer was incredulous. "And if somebody were to suggest to you that that's overfastidious you would say…?"
"No," replied Keller, with a frown. "Not at all."
Such is the life of Thomas Keller -- the perfectionist/genius behind The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon and Ad Hoc -- at least according to KCET's new documentary "Master Chef: Thomas Keller Uncorked." The documentary follows Keller through a day in the life, highlighting his perfectionism, obsession and apparent OCD, complete with scenes of the chef rearranging his home refrigerator. (When asked about his OCD, Keller uncomfortably replied, "Yeah, it's one of those things," before quickly changing the subject.)
But while his quirky perfection might be the focus, it's softened with comments about his caring devotion. "It's hard to work with Thomas and not drink the Kool-Aid," said Los Angeles Times Food Editor and Columnist Russ Parsons in the trailer. "Because you see this devotion to getting every single detail right. Going the extra step to make things perfect." Parsons even compares him to a father figure, while Keller circles the restaurant shaking hands with every member of his staff.
The prize jewel of the 30-minute film: the adorable photos of a young Keller as a baby, in school and in the back of a kitchen shelling beans.
Oranges at the feet of the Keller? Perhaps. But we're still setting our DVRs.
Check out a preview of the documentary "Master Chef: Thomas Keller Uncorked" below:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that the documentary was produced by PBS. The documentary was actually produced by KCET.