Draeger's Cooking School Logo

Josef Keller

Josef Keller was born and raised in Switzerland. In his early teens he made his way into the rigorous Suisse Cooking Apprenticeship program with an emphasis on French cuisine and dining room management. Keller worked at restaurants in the fine European hotels of Zurich, Geneva and the winter resort area of Verbier. On moving to the U.S., the precocious chef amazed Philadelphia while at la Scala’s, a northern Italian restaurant, for four years, and charmed Lake Tahoe at the Swiss Lakewood Restaurant and Lodge, working both the front and the back of the house for another four years. Keller moved to Santa Rosa in 1980 and opened La Province, a French continental restaurant, for a run of 12 years. Following that, he owned and managed Josef’s Restaurant & Bar at the La Rose Hotel for 17 years where Charles Schulz and his family were frequent customers. One of Josef’s most meaningful roles was at Meals on Wheels in Sonoma County where he restructured the program to provide better tasting meals by using more fresh produce, herbs and improved cooking methods. Keller worked for four years at the Prelude Restaurant at the Green Music Center, and at the Overlook Restaurant, both at Sonoma State University. Josef currently lives in Santa Rosa and produces Chef Josef’s Seasonings , a line of signature spice blends.