Thomas Keller: Every morning there was a ritual where I would wake up and I would call my list of people asking them for money. “Hello, my name is…” You know, “I have this idea of… … and I’d like you to consider it. Can I send you a copy?” Right. And so that was over 400 people I called during that period of time. Out of those 400, 52 agreed to write a check, for a lot of different reasons, for any amount of money. I think one of my investors invested 500, and the one who invested the most I think was 80,000. So you can see there was a wide range of investment. I wanted to have a large group of people, because of my experience at Rakel. Serge was my only investor (in Rakel) so his life was impacted by the failure of Rakel. I said, “I’m never going to do that again. If I’m going to raise money from a lot of different people so it doesn’t impact — if I’m not successful, it’s not going to impact their lives.” So that was the process with the private placement business plan. On my makeshift desk was — I clipped out of The New York Times during this time — during this period in my life there was an article which was titled “Having a Dream Is Hard. Living It Is Harder.” And that became my inspiration every morning, because I had a dream to buy The French Laundry. But now I had to actually act on it, that dream, and make it reality. So living that dream became one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever done in my life. My ignorance, as I said earlier, just continued to motivate me, to propel me forward. The success has motivated me and propelled me forward. The ignorance allowed me to do it. But not only did I have to raise money from private partners, I had to buy the property. So we had to have a commercial bank loan. So I went to different banks, several banks. All of them loved the idea but turned me down. Turned me down primarily not because there wasn’t value in the property, but because I had a tax lien in New York City, and this tax lien was based on our failure at Rakel. So I had to go back to Serge because I didn’t have any money, and I had to ask Serge to satisfy the tax lien, which my portion of it was considerable. And he agreed to do it. So he wrote a check to the New York tax authorities to clear us up, which allowed me to get a bank loan. Not only did I get a commercial bank loan, I also went to the Small Business Administration because I was still short on money. And of course as a white, middle-class, educated American, I wasn’t on the top of the list of somebody the SBA was going to give money to. Yet at that time, Bill Clinton was just inaugurated, became our president, and one of his goals was to fund the SBA and try to get small businesses to be thriving again. So at that right moment, in that right period of time, I was able to put my application in and be approved for an SBA loan. So between private placement, commercial bank loan, and an SBA loan over the period, and with the help of Don and Sally Schmitt and Bob Sutcliffe, my attorney, as well as the 52 partners, we were able to put together enough money to buy The French Laundry, and on May 1, 1994 we finally closed on the deal.