French Laundry chef Thomas Keller deletes his Twitter account after online criticism – SF Gate

Restaurant News

French Laundry celebrity chef Thomas Keller has departed Twitter. On Tuesday, after tweeting praise for the recently deceased Sheldon G. Adelson, one of President Donald Trump’s biggest donors who was also a patron of Keller’s restaurants, he immediately saw backlash.

Some called Keller tone deaf due to the recent storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters, or expressed disappointment in him for making money from “evil people.” As of last night, people began noticing that Keller had deleted his Twitter account (The San Francisco Chronicle broke the news).

But this incident is far from Keller’s first brush with controversy in recent months. In April, after he was named to the White House’s Economic Council for Restaurants along with Wolfgang Puck, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Daniel Boulud, Keller tweeted the following: “Honored @realdonaldtrump asked me & @danielboulud @wolfgangpuck @jeangeorges to join @whitehouse Great American Economic Revival Industry Group. Proud to work together towards a strategy where the safety of Americans is top of mind in conjunction towards economic revitalization.”

Keller also directly thanked Trump in another tweet for a related issue, just a few days before. Online, some people were unhappy to see a direct mention of Trump from Keller, and were also disappointed to see the makeup of the Council for Restaurants to be all male, mostly white and made up of representatives of corporations such as Chick-fil-A and Pepsi, rather than small businesses.

“I’m still trying to understand how these chefs represent a true crosssection of restaurant owners?” replied one individual. “Oh wait, they don’t. Who in that room is going to speak for workers? I feel like we’re all putting too much faith into this ‘relief’ when we aren’t even through the storm yet.”

With criticism against his new gig piling up, Keller doubled down.

“This is not a partisan issue; millions are struggling to put a meal on their table. I stand proudly alongside some of the great thought-leaders of today; Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Ajay Banga, Condoleezza Rice, Adam Silver, Ann Mukherjee, Barbara Grimm, and many others,” he tweeted in a thread. Another tweet said, “I urge all haters and cynics to stop and join meaningful actions. Shout less, act more.”

And while Keller himself was not at the center of all the heat Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed caught for dining at the French Laundry during the pandemic, it certainly didn’t help his restaurant’s reputation. The French Laundry also received more than $2.4 million in PPP loans during the pandemic, while smaller restaurants struggled to get approval at all from the federal program which … didn’t sit well with a lot of people, for obvious reasons.

Tuesday’s Twitter controversy was perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back, but leaving Twitter seems like it was a long time coming for Keller. The chef’s Instagram account, however, remains active.

Source: Thanks