He previously headed the kitchen at El Bizcocho in San Diego. In 2007, he represented U.S.A. at the Bocuse d'Or. He was a competitor on The Next Iron Chef, eliminated during the third challenge, 'Resourcefulness'.
|“||This guy named George Serra was opening a place called Pasta Time next door. He’d come in every Saturday and order tuna, then I’d watch him go out and throw the sandwich in the trash. After four or five Saturdays, I asked him why he was throwing out his sandwiches. (He was checking out Kaysen’s sandwich-making skills, not the sandwich.) He said, “I want you to come work for me, you have a great work ethic. So he gave me $1 more an hour, and I went to work for him. He taught me how to love food, and how to love the whole process, and to cook with a lot of emotion. That’s what I learned from him.||”|
In 2007, Kaysen was named one of the top 10 ‘Best New Chefs’ by Food & Wine. Before becoming executive chef at Cafe Boulud, he worked at Domaine Chandon in Yountville, California, under Robert Curry, at Auberge de Lavaux in Lausanne, Switzerland, and under Marco Pierre White at L'Escargot in London, England.
Chef Kaysen was eliminated during the third episode of The Next Iron Chef due to his food being ‘underseasoned’ and ‘undersalted’ in the opinions of the judges. After the elimination, he explained to judge Michael Ruhlman that the problem had been that the food had been stored improperly by the tech crew of the show, and had become submerged in an ice water bath, leaching the salt and seasonings out. Ruhlman has stated that had he known of the technical glitch, he would likely have judged differently.
Bocuse d'Or incident
The Bocuse d'Or is one of the world's most prestigious cooking competitions, held in France every two years, and is often referred to as the Olympics of cooking. Kaysen was the U.S. candidate for the 2007 finals. While other issues caused problems for Kaysen at the Bocuse d'Or, the main failing was caused by a dish-washing assistant. Kaysen prepared a wheel-shaped ballotine of chicken, inlaid with chicken liver, foie gras, and Louisiana crayfish. Two of the side dishes were missing. Mistaking two chicken wings intended for the platter as rejects, the dishwasher had eaten them. Kaysen placed fourteenth.
- The Next Iron Chef, 2007
- Iron Chef America, 2009 - Kaysen emerged victorious.
- Top Chef, 2009 (season 6) - Kaysen appeared as a guest judge
- The San Diego Union-Tribune (October 10, 2007). Chef Change: Kaysen Moves On
- Smillie, Dirk, Forbes.com (June 5, 2007). French Toast
- Food & Wine (2007). Best New Chefs - 2007 - Gavin Kaysen
- Ruhlman, Michael, blog.ruhlman.com (October 23, 2007). Next Iron Chef Perspective
- gastronomicfightclub.com (June 9, 2008). 2008 James Beard Award Winners