Daniel Boulud is considered one of today’s leading culinary authorities and one of the most revered French chefs in New York. Boulud is best known for New York’s exquisitely refined DANIEL, the three Michelin-star Relais & Châteaux restaurant. He is also the chef-owner of db Bistro Moderne, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Bar Boulud, Café Boulud, Boulud Sud and Épicerie Boulud. His cooking can also be discovered in Miami and Palm Beach, Fla., London, Singapore, Beijing, Montréal and Toronto.
Boulud is the recipient of three James Beard Foundation awards, including Outstanding Chef and Outstanding Restaurateur. He was named a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government and Chef of the Year 2011 by The Culinary Institute of America. He has penned seven cookbooks and founded the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation. Since 2000, he has served on the board of directors for Citymeals-on-Wheels.
Meet Daniel Boulud
Location: New York City and beyond
Interests: Food and wine (preferably together), visiting the track for the occasional Formula One race, hunting wild game with friends in upstate New York, a rare round of golf.
Background: Chef/Owner of several award-winning restaurants and the Feast & Fêtes catering company. New York City restaurants include - Daniel [a three Michelin star Relais & Châteaux member], Café Boulud with its adjacent Bar Pleiades, DB Bistro Moderne, Bar Boulud, DBGB Kitchen and Bar. Beyond Manhattan I've opened Café Boulud in Palm Beach and DB Bistro Moderne in downtown Miami. I've extended my culinary reach internationally with Maison Boulud in Beijing’s Legation Quarter, as well as Vancouver’s DB Bistro Moderne and the renowned Relais & Châteaux restaurant, Lumière. Bar Boulud [my first restaurant in the UK]. My culinary style is reflected in my six cookbooks and television series “After Hours with Daniel.”
Favorite meal: A black truffle lobster salad, then a spaghetti a la chitarra with white truffle, followed by a whole roasted turbot with white truffle. The piece de resistance is a poularde poached with black truffle under the skin. In the home stretch we'll spike a brie with just a little more black truffle and then end on a light and airy lemon soufflé topped with white truffle shavings.
Hidden talent: Sketching, but I don’t think I’d call it a real talent, more of a habit or inclination. My sketching is very simple. I’ve never been formally trained in drawing, but when I have an idea it’s very handy to visualize it on paper. It could be a dish, a design for a kitchen or a way to improve a dining room layout, but I find the best way to communicate what I have in mind is putting it down on paper in a drawing.
Book/Film recommendation: You must read the book of my dear friend Olivier Giugni; he’s called it Living Art, and it’s about bringing flowers into every room in your house. We’ve been working off each other’s creativity for almost 20 years. He’s the incredible talent responsible for the floral design in all of my NYC restaurants, literally transforming them every week with fresh flowers. His book shows you how to do that at home with great style.
Restaurant recommendation: I’m just back from Miami, so it’s a destination that’s on my mind. And, you’re going to need suggestions for eating out if you’re going to Art Basel, or just to catch some sun this winter. I love the soul and flavor of Michelle Bernstein's cooking at Michy's. I'm also a big fan of Michael's Genuine.
If I had $20, I’d… Donate it to Citymeals-on-Wheels, a charitable organization that delivers meals to New York's home bound elderly. If each of you reading this joins me and does the same, then we’ll really be talking. This is the time of year when the rest of us are celebrating [the holiday], that these home-delivered meals are needed the most. Delivering a single meal costs $6.42. So you can make a big difference with a small gesture of $20. Or go ahead, make a big gesture by adding some zeroes.
Transformative travel experience: Taking a vacation where I discover the soul of a place through its food. I was in Spain during the San Sebastian Gastronomika culinary festival; at the restaurant Elkano I had some of the best food—local lobster and turbot simply grilled on wood embers and finished with olive oil. Then there were the three-star meals I had at Martín Berasategui or Pedro Subijana's Akelarre.
Favorite neighborhood: The 6th arrondissement in Paris. To stroll on the Boulevard St. Germain and soak up Parisian lifestyle is always wonderful.
Dream holiday: A deserted island in the South Pacific without a phone, satellite, TV, email or digital communication of any kind. I’d like to go completely off the radar for a week.
If I could solve one problem, it would be: I hope it doesn’t sound cliché to say alleviating world hunger. As a chef, I consider it a serious problem. It may be unrealistic to think we can solve it, but we can work toward alleviating it. Lots of good people are working on this issue. I’d love to find the right ones to partner with to do my part.