Thomas Keller, ***Per Se, New York City; ***French Laundry, Napa Valley

Born in southern California, his love of the art of cookery began when he worked in his mother’s restaurant. His passion for cooking led Thomas Keller to France in 1983, where he laid the foundation for his global culinary career in the kitchens of Guy Savoy, Michael Pasquet, Gerard Besson, Taillevent, Le Toit de Passey, Chiberta and Le Pré Catelan.

Back in New York in 1984, he gained a high level of attention at “La Reserve” and at the restaurant “Raphael” before opening the first restaurant of his own in 1986. With the goal of running a French three Michelin star restaurant “in the countryside”, Thomas Keller bought “The French Laundry” in the heart of Napa Valley in 1994. His restaurant per se in New York is rated the best restaurant in the USA.

Today Thomas Keller is world-famous for his innovations and his complete commitment to the great art of cookery. His cookbook “The French Laundry” won many prizes, including one as the cookbook of the year.


Dieter Kosslick, Berlin

Born in Pforzheim, Kosslick studied communications, political science and pedagogy at the Munich University. In 1979 he went to Hamburg where he worked as personal advisor, speechwriter and head of the office of mayor Hans-Ulrich Klose, and later as the press spokesman for “women’s equality”.

In 1983 he started his activity in film financing, first as managing director of the cultural Filmförderung Hamburg (Hamburg film office). In 1986 he founded there the European Low Budget Forum with “Cinema along the Alster”. In 1988 he became managing director of the Film Funds Hamburg. In 1992 the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and WDR brought Dieter Kosslick to the Rhein, where he took on the function of managing director heading up the NRW Film Foundation, which was only a year old. In 2000 Dieter Kosslick was appointed by the state of Berlin and the federal government to take over the International Film Festival Berlin (“Berlinale”).

On 1 May 2001 he began his new task as the director of the Berlinale. In 2006 he positioned the younger directors’ accompanying program “Talent Campus” under the theme of “hunger, food and taste”. Hundreds of young filmmakers were inspired in this way to produce videos on the topic of nutrition. Kosslick is a member of the Slow Food movement and cooperates with the film festival “Slowfood on film”, founded by Carlo Petrini, the 2004 Witzigmann Award Winner.


Cornelia Poletto, *Cornelia Poletto, Hamburg

Born in Hamburg. She received her training in Aschau from 1992 to 1995 from Heinz Winkler, a chef who has three Michelin stars.

Since 2000 she has been head chef and, together with her husband Remigio, owner of the Hamburg restaurant “Poletto”. Since 2001 Cornelia Poletto has regularly received one star in the Guide Michelin for her art of cookery. The Gault & Millau has been rating her at 16 points since 2004, and she received three “F”s in the 2005-06 edition of “Feinschmecker”, which in 2003 named “Poletto” to the ten best “foreign restaurants in Germany”.


Frédy Girardet,*** Féchy (Lausanne)

Born in Lausanne. That he was to be considered one of the truly great in his league could already be recognised in 1975, when the Gault & Millau testers awarded him their highest distinction, the “Clé d’Or”, just a few years after he took over his father’s “Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville” in Crissier.

Led by him, the restaurant became world-class: the International Herald Tribune called it “number 1 in the entire world among gourmet restaurants”. Girardet became a knight of the Legion of Honour, and his name is registered in the Larousse lexicon.

Finally in 1989 he received the highest consecration: he was named the “cook of the 20th century”. Joël Robuchon raves about him that Girardet does not bow to any fashion because he is ahead of any trends anyway. Not to know Girardet is like being a doctor without knowing who Hippocrates was.