Douglas Keane's interest in cooking developed when he was a young boy helping his mother in their Michigan kitchen. A close family friend, renowned hotelier, Stan Bromley, further influenced Douglas' desire to cook and encouraged him to enroll at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. There, Douglas became fascinated and devoted to the culinary arts, finding himself in San Francisco, Washington D.C. and New York City always working his way into great kitchens to learn more. After graduating with a degree which allowed him to work in any hotel of his choosing, Keane had a decision to make: start a career or begin all over again following his heart to the kitchens. The kitchen won.
Keane moved to New York City landing at The Four Seasons, the seminal restaurant in the Seagram's Tower. Under Chef Christian “Hitsch” Albin, Keane was given the opportunity to work at all stations in the kitchen and adapt to the pressure of cooking in a high powered, fast paced three star restaurant. The Four Seasons opened Keane's eyes to the bounty of pristine products available to cooks willing to work hard and respect each ingredient. This was his first glimpse of a luxury restaurant where truffles, foie gras and caviar were commonplace: a glimpse that would prove addicting.
In New York City, Keane dined out as much as a cook's wage permitted and would stage in other great kitchens as much as a busy cook's schedule allowed. An avid reader of Ruth Riechl's New York Times reviews, Keane was moved in particular by a review of Lespinasse where Chef Gray Kunz was using ingredients and flavor combinations unheard of in this country which seemed to magically translate into four star dining. Keane ate at Lespinasse and was instantly touched concluding that the food was so good he better work for this chef or quit cooking altogether. Fortunately Keane was able to secure a position at Lespinasse where he was impressed not only by the exotic flavor combinations but the technique and precision which the fine cooks possessed. Overwhelmed at the level of skill and creativity, Keane recalled the lesson his family and mentors taught him: be quiet, keep your eyes open and work harder than everybody else.
After his time at Lespinasse, a better climate and reunion with his family beckoned him to San Francisco. Keane was introduced to Traci Des Jardins of the newly opened Jardiniere. Keane immediately was drawn to Chef Des Jardins for her respect of ingredients, technique and her staff. After working his way up to Chef de Cuisine in a year's time, Keane was granted a leave of absence to serve as opening Sous Chef at the restaurant Gary Danko. There, he forged a friendship with his future Cyrus partner Nick Peyton. After Gary Danko, Keane returned to Jardiniere as Executive Chef where, in 2002, he was honored by the San Francisco Chronicle as a "Rising Star Chef" and earned three-and-a-half stars for his cuisine in a glowing review by Michael Bauer.
In 2003 Des Jardins bid Keane a fond farewell as he and partner Nick Peyton ventured out to open a small casual eatery in Napa Valley, Market an American Restaurant, while they envisioned their luxury restaurant in Sonoma County.
At Cyrus, admittedly his "dream restaurant", Keane specializes in an ambitious culinary style he refers to as "contemporary luxury" cuisine, a reflection of his early cooking days and the joy over the top ingredients brought to him and the guests he cooked for. Along with a pantry stocked with luxury items, Keane uses ingredients that are uncommon to create exciting new tastes for guests to experience. In describing his cooking philosophy, the young chef passionately explains, "I try to pull the most out of each ingredient, capturing its essence and treating it with respect. At this level of dining, a guest should expect more than a beautiful tomato with sea salt and olive oil. Guests spending these prices for a dinner deserve to see and taste dishes that cannot be replicated by a trip to the farmers's market and a sharp chef's knife in a home kitchen. Guests deserve our best effort every night and when that becomes too much to give, it will be time to hang up the apron.”
Open less than five years, Cyrus and Chef Keane have each amassed numerous accolades including two stars from The Michelin Guide, four stars from Michael Bauer at the San Francisco Chronicle, Gourmet Magazines’ Top Fifty Restaurants, Esquire Magazine’s Chef of the Year, Food and Wine Magazines Best New Chef and most recently, James Beard Award Best Chef Pacific.
Healdsberg Bar & Grill
Appearances at Los Angeles Food & Wine 2011
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