33-year-old Douglas Keane’s interest in cooking developed when he was a young boy helping his mother in their Michigan kitchen. That kitchen experience led him to enroll at Cornell University’s prestigious School of Hotel Administration, during which an apprenticeship took him to San Francisco’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where his considerable culinary skills began to shape his career.
After graduating, Keane headed to New York to cook at The Four Seasons, the seminal restaurant in the Seagram Tower. The venerable restaurant gave him an opportunity to work all kitchen stations and adapt to the pressures of cooking for celebrities. During his stint at The Four Seasons, he eventually worked his way up to Sous Chef. He next spent a year at Lespinasse, one of the Big Apple’s premier dining destinations, under the direction of chef Gray Kunz. The renowned Kunz, a traditionalist unafraid of innovation, was Keane’s single greatest culinary influence. But California beckoned again and Keane returned to San Francisco to serve as Chef de Cuisine at the highly touted Jardinière. He then took a leave of absence to serve as opening Sous Chef at acclaimed Restaurant Gary Danko. It was there he forged a friendship with his Cyrus partner, Nick Peyton. After his time at Gary Danko, Keane returned to Jardinière as Executive Chef, where in 2002 he was honored by the San Francisco Chronicle as a “Rising Star Chef” and earned three-and-a-half stars for his cuisine in a glowing review.
In 2003, Keane opened Market in St. Helena with friend Nick Peyton, who would run the front of the house while he did the cooking. In sharp contrast to the bastions of haute cuisine to which he and Peyton had become accustomed, Market was a neighborhood purveyor of all-American comfort food, where Keane concentrated on dishes such as meatloaf, fried chicken, pork chops and even grilled cheese sandwiches.
At Cyrus, admittedly his “dream restaurant,” Keane specializes in an ambitious culinary style he refers to as “contemporary luxury” cuisine, which has a strong classic French foundation layered with contemporary global accents and an emphasis on seasonality. In describing his cooking philosophy, the young chef passionately explains,
“I try to pull the most out of each ingredient, capturing its essence and treating it with respect.” In addition to his remarkable success as a chef and restaurateur, Keane's side projects have included assisting the great Jacques Pepin on his Cooking with Claudine television series on Encore and consultations with various restaurants and hotels, including the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. He has also worked with celebrated pastry chef Jacques Torres at New York’s Le Cirque 2000.