Recognized with 3-Star culinary acclaim by the Michelin Guide since 2006, The French Laundry is one of the rarest of gastronomic gems with a genesis story that extends back to the rustic beginning of Napa Valley's ascendency. Sally and Don Schmitt were instrumental in helping not just the fledgling community erupting around them, but it was their investment into Thomas Keller in 1994 that allowed Keller to refine The French Laundry into his first 3-Star accolade a full Chinese Zodiac later, from Rat to Pig.
"He intends to keep the name," Sally continues. "He wants to build on what is here. Sure, he'll take the mom and pop out of it, but he'll continue the country style cooking. We're thrilled to turn it over to him."
Hearing Sally Schmitt talk about balance, made me think of David Sedaris' Melbourne friend Pat who said, sometimes you have to turn off two burners to be really successful, only in Sally's case, turning off the work burner enabled the Schmitt's to enjoy what they had worked so hard to achieve. Sally and Don Schmitt would go on to enjoy retirement together for another 20 plus years, with Don Schmitt passing February 6, 2017 and Sally Schmitt following on March 5, 2022.