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Thomas Keller: Treat it like it's yours
Age: 53
Chef, The French Laundry, Per Se

Treat it like it's yours and someday it will be. I'm not exactly sure when someone told me that, but I certainly remember the profound impact it had. Every job I had from that point on -- I was still a chef de partie at that time -- everything that came with that workstation became my responsibility. I kept my space clean, organized, and maintained ... I brought this mindset with me everywhere I went. ... Because of the way I worked and carried myself, and the quality and integrity that I was striving for, a lot of people saw certain qualities in me that they respected.

--Interview by Alyssa Abkowitz

NEXT: Robin Li: Underpromise and overdeliver
Last updated July 08 2009: 2:26 PM ET
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