Daniel Boulud

Chef, Restaurateur

New York

Daniel Boulud is the quintessential overachieving New York chef. He grew up on a farm in Lyons, France, and went on to train with master French chefs. Boulud arrived in the United States in 1982 and quickly got to work earning his reputation as a contemporary-classic French chef. His eponymous restaurant, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Daniel, has garnered many accolades since opening in 1993, including numerous James Beard Awards. Boulud now owns and oversees restaurants across North America, from Miami to Toronto. In New York alone, he helms eight eateries, from the aforementioned fine-dining French institution Daniel to the casual Mediterranean-inspired Boulud Sud. He also has celebrated restaurants in several international cities, including London, Montreal and Singapore.

  • On January 9, 2013
    Rebecca Reynolds is now following Daniel Boulud
  • On November 5, 2012
    Daniel Boulud answered the question: Daniel Boulud

    What are Daniel Boulud’s favorite New York hotels?

    Hands down, The Surrey. The Surrey is home to Café Boulud and was the site of the first iteration of Daniel. But more importantly, it underwent a thorough renovation recently. So what was a sleepy neighborhood holdout is now a sleek gem, but on an intimate scale. The hotel recently became a Relais & Châteaux member, a testament to its service and personalized charm. It’s in the heart of a residential neighborhood, and a stay at The Surrey gives a sense of how New Yorkers live, albeit ones who are privileged to live on the Upper East Side.
  • On November 5, 2012
    Daniel Boulud answered the question: Daniel Boulud

    What makes Daniel Boulud’s restaurants different from one another?

    None of my restaurants are a cookie-cutter type of restaurant. Café Boulud in New York and Café Boulud Palm Beach are different. There’s definitely a strong connection among all the restaurants, and that connection is the food we develop. Palm Beach and Toronto are very far away, so you can’t have the same state of mind in creating a menu for both of them. Yet they are both Café Boulud in their standard of quality and complexity of food, quality of service, quality of setting, expectation and all that.
     
    For example, Café Boulud Toronto at the new Four Seasons is similar to what Café Boulud New York is in the sense of the menu with the four different sections: La Tradition, La Saison, Le Potager, Le Voyage. So we’ll have the menu divided that way, but in Le Voyage, we do more of a Mediterranean journey. The general manager of the Four Seasons is Greek. For the opening of the Four Seasons Toronto, we did a Mediterranean menu in homage to the general manager. The menu will keep changing as the seasons change, and we build a certain comfort with suppliers and comfort with customers. I think what’s important is to make sure we don’t print the menu in New York, send it to Toronto and say that’s it. We organically work very hard at making sure we keep tweaking the menu, which will be very market-driven like many of my menus.
  • On November 5, 2012
    Daniel Boulud answered the question: Daniel Boulud

    What are Daniel Boulud’s favorite New York hotels?

    Hands down, The Surrey. The Surrey is home to Café Boulud and was the site of the first iteration of Daniel. But more importantly, it underwent a thorough renovation recently. So what was a sleepy neighborhood holdout is now a sleek gem, but on an intimate scale. The hotel recently became a Relais & Châteaux member, a testament to its service and personalized charm. It’s in the heart of a residential neighborhood, and a stay at The Surrey gives a sense of how New Yorkers live, albeit ones who are privileged to live on the Upper East Side.
  • On November 5, 2012
    Daniel Boulud answered the question: Daniel Boulud

    What is Daniel Boulud’s new restaurant like at Ritz-Carlton Montreal?

    It is a Maison Boulud, like we have in Beijing, but the menu first and foremost reflects the local market. We look at what the local market can bring us and what can we do with the ingredients that are seasonal and accessible there. The menu is a blend of Café Boulud, Bar Boulud and sometimes a touch of Daniel. It’s a little bit of a composition from a few of our restaurants — we even do a burger from DBGB. The soup I made 20 years ago when I opened Daniel for the first time on 76th Street — I’m still making that pea soup today because it’s an expression of spring at its best. I use five different peas for the soup, and it’s always delicious. We make ravioli with sheep’s milk ricotta from the local sheep’s milk we got from Quebec. We have also an arctic char dish, and we make it with spaghetti squash pesto, a basil pesto with pine nuts. We have very good mussels there, too.
     
    Every one of our restaurants is chef-driven, and we try to have a bit of his personality and background in the menu. I think it’s important. Ricardo Bertolino is the chef at Maison Boulud, so we have a couple of dishes that are slightly Italian but all with my approval.
  • On November 5, 2012
    Daniel Boulud answered the question: Daniel Boulud

    What are Daniel Boulud’s favorite Montreal restaurants?

    Given the recent opening of Maison Boulud at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal, I’m quite focused on the city. I’ve been visiting my chef friends there for years, and I’m a big fan of a spectrum of places, including Toque!, Ferreira Café, Joe Beef and Au Pied de Cochon.
  • On November 5, 2012
    Daniel Boulud answered the question: Daniel Boulud

    What are Daniel Boulud’s favorite hotels and why?

    There are few hotel companies in the world that have maintained luxury. For example, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons have no other brand than their own brand; they’re only Four Seasons, and they’re only Mandarin. And I think that gives them an opportunity to maintain very high standards. It’s very important to see the way hotels proceed with luxury, what kind of service they bring to their customer and the difference from each company and how they apply their standards of service and their standard of excellence — that is the lesson I like to learn from them. Relais & Châteaux has its own standard, but it’s much more individualistic. Members are all small — 100 rooms or fewer — and must meet the association’s criteria. It’s much more based on the owner of that particular little place. In the end, it’s all about hospitality.
     
    Also, Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles — mostly for the caring attention of its host and owner Jeff Klein, who I think would tuck in every guest if he could.
  • On November 5, 2012
    Daniel Boulud answered the question: Daniel Boulud

    What are Daniel Boulud’s favorite cities to visit?

    In America, I like New Orleans for the music, the food and the fun; Jackson Hole in Wyoming for the beauty of the West; Carmel as my favorite place on the Pacific. I go to the food and wine festival every year in Carmel. It’s amazing. I like Portland, Maine, because I have my fish supplier there and he has a boat and he takes me out fishing.
     
    Internationally, I like Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. What I love are the Brazilians — the beauty of their city, their food, their culture. London is one of the top five cities in the world — Paris, New York, London, Tokyo and the last one is Beijing. What I love to do in Beijing is rent a bike and be with thousands of Chinese at a red light and pedal with them and be mixed into this sea of locals. It’s just a very powerful and strange city.
     
    I also like Budapest. I have many friends there and it’s easy to gather in Budapest. Every year there is a Formula One Grand Prix — it’s an annual tradition every summer to go to the races and eat goulash, have great smoked ham and artisanal charcuterie. I also like Spain, especially San Sebastian and Barcelona. Every region of France is home for me, but I also enjoy the beauty of going to the different regions. I’ll always be in love with France and Paris. And I developed my passion for smoked salmon when I was working in Copenhagen as a cook at the Plaza Hotel in 1979. Now I dream of going back to bicycle the town from one end to the next.
  • On November 2, 2012
    Daniel Boulud answered the question: Daniel Boulud

    What are Daniel Boulud's favorite New York restaurants?

    New York is made of neighborhoods and what you do in each neighborhood is different, which is reflected in the restaurants. For example, the Theater District has DB Bistro. DB Bistro is wonderful for lunch and it’s wonderful for pre-theater or after-theater. It’s also a wonderful destination for dinner, and it’s at the core center of Manhattan so there are a lot of hotels that are very conveniently located.
     
    I want a restaurant that has great food and great service and feels authentic. I have great friends who are good cooks. If I want fancy meal, I go to Jean Georges or I go to Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin. I love The Four Seasons restaurant as the ultimate lunch destination because that’s where most New York powers meet for lunch, but it’s also an institution. It has been there for 60 years and still is amazingly consistent. I go there because I want a dish I always have — that’s the crab cakes.
     
    And then there are destinations like Roberta’s in Brooklyn, which is super casual and super laid back. Frankie’s in Brooklyn, that’s very cool, too. It all depends who I’m going with, where I’m going and what I do. But I’m quite open to any cuisine. I went to the new Mission Chinese Food. I was with a group of friends, and it was a lot of fun. It was unusual. It was very downtown but very cool.