If there's one thing Thomas Keller taught us during his 10-day pop up in at Harrod's London, it's that The French Laundry brand is fundamentally not connected to time and place. Whether the restaurant be in Napa, New York, or the basement of a department store in London, the dishes are the same. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it means that Chef Keller is a good teacher, one who is able to teach his staff how to reproduce his dishes with enough accuracy that they can be prepared anywhere. But it also means that the dishes will never feel spontaneous and whimsical, and it's difficult for them to convey chef Keller's inspiration. It was four years since my last visit to the French Laundry. Since then, Chef de Cuisine Corey Lee left and opened San Francisco's Benu, with Timothy Hollingsworth taking his place. It's an interesting situation being the chef de cuisine at a restaurant of this caliber where the executive chef no longer cooks. On the one hand it's an incredible opportunity for a chef to propel his career, but unfortunately, the dishes still have to further the concepts and passions set forth by someone else: Thomas Keller.