Daniel Boulud

Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu - Rodano

Daniel Boloud

Originally from Lyon, Daniel Boulud has worked in some of France's finest kitchens before finding success overseas. He has established a global MICHELIN-Starred gastronomic empire in which his first restaurant,  "Daniel", still shines.

Daniel Boulud was born in 1955 in Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, near Lyon, a hub for French rural and regional cuisine in contrast to the cosmopolitanism of Paris. He grew up on his parents' farm, enveloped by the rhythms of the seasons, the marvel of fresh produce, and his grandmother's home cooking. He developed a passion for the culinary arts early on, earning his first apprenticeship at a high level at Lyon's Two-MICHELIN-Starred "Nandron" restaurant, where he stayed from 1969 to 1972.

He soon started to make a name for himself in competitions: 1972 was the year he made it to the finals of the competition for France's best apprentice. He then joined "La Mère Blanc," a Three-MICHELIN-Starred restaurant where Georges Blanc was already working, staying for two years. From 1974 to 1976, Boulud moved to "Moulin de Mougins" with Roger Vergé, at the pinnacle of Provençal cuisine. Starting as a mere cook, he was promoted to chef de partie.

After a stint at "The Plaza Hotel" in Copenhagen to familiarize himself with hotel management, he moved to another three-Star establishment: "Les Prés d’Eugénie" by Michel Guérard, founder of wellness cuisine, where he worked for a year as chef de partie. But ambition called, and Boulud returned to Copenhagen to become the sous-chef at "The Plaza Hotel" and then the head chef at "Les Étoiles" in the same city.

At this point, well-equipped to lead a significant establishment and with a résumé epitomizing nouvelle cuisine, he came in contact with the United States, where he would be celebrated. From 1981 to 1982, he was a private chef for Roland de Kergorlay, the European Commission Ambassador to Washington. He then left it all to go to New York, where he began as a sous-chef at the "Polo Lounge" of "The Westbury Hotel," working alongside Thomas Keller.

Boulud quickly climbed the ladder at prestigious restaurants: he became the executive chef at "La Régence" of "Plaza Athénée," and then at "Le Cirque." These roles earned him the Best New Chef award from Food & Wine and initial recognition from the James Beard Foundation. The opportune moment arrived, and in 1993, he opened his own "Daniel" in the heart of Manhattan. The James Beard Foundation immediately recognized him as an Outstanding Chef, the second of six awards. America was enchanted by his generous cuisine, which harmonized French culinary luxury with contemporary American tastes.

1998 was a year of changes: Daniel moved his restaurant to its current location and opened "Café Boulud" in the old space, quickly earning a MICHELIN Star. The empire expanded: in 2001, he opened "DB Bistro Moderne" in New York with a classic French bistro menu; in 2003, a second "Café Boulud" in Palm Beach; and in 2008, "Bar Boulud" in New York, inspired by Lyon, followed by one in London in 2010. In the same year, he also opened two "DB Bistro Moderne" locations, in Miami and Singapore. In 2011, "Boulud Sud" and "Epicerie Boulud" offered lighter Mediterranean cuisine, followed by further expansions to Montreal, Las Vegas, Boston, Washington, Toronto, Miami, the Bahamas, and in 2019, back to New York with "DBGB Kitchen and Bar."

In 2010, "Daniel" earned three MICHELIN Stars, although one was withdrawn five years later for "lack of consistency." Boulud has not only received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World’s 50 Best but was also named the Best Restaurateur in the World by Les Grandes Tables du Monde.

The author of six books, Boulud supports the U.S. team at the Bocuse d'Or, where they performed well; he's the star of the TV series "After Hours with Daniel," founder of the Ment'or BKB Foundation which helps young international chefs in their training and is active in the charity Citymeals-on-Wheels, which provides meals for seniors in need.

Cover Photo: @ThomasSchauer


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