The Michelin 3-star Northern California restaurant The French Laundry – currently run by legendary chef Thomas Keller – has often been recognized as the best in the world, but few know the story of its founder, Sally Schmitt. In an emotional final interview before her passing in March 2022, Sally tells her own story as a pioneering chef of California cuisine and sets the table for another way to look at life: where balance, rather than recognition, is the ultimate prize.
Directed and produced by Academy Award® winner Ben Proudfoot (The Queen of Basketball), the short documentary, The Best Chef in the World, premieres on The New York Times Op-Docs via nytimes.com on Tuesday September 13 at 5AM ET and on The New York Times’ YouTube channel at 12PM ET.
The Best Chef in the World brings Sally and her pioneering and endearing family front and center in this moving, insightful and joyful short film shining a spotlight on the loving and humble origins of this inspiring and popular culinary experience.
The Best Chef in the World had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival last week to rousing responses and is currently on the big screen in Los Angeles for its Oscar® qualifying run through September 15.
“Sally is an unsung pioneer of California cuisine and her story is a timely fable about life’s true prize: balance,” Proudfoot said. “In her memory, I hope that this film, which we designed to feel like an intimate afternoon in Sally’s Mendocino potting shed, can serve as a joyful (and delicious) touchstone that can push us to reach beyond what seems worthwhile, for what actually hits the spot.”
Watch the official trailer for The Best Chef in the World.