Daniel Boulud is chef and owner of three restaurants: Daniel, Café Boulud and his newest DB Bistro Moderne, all located in New York City. He has a specialty food line, DB Connoisseur, which sells fine caviar and smoked salmon,and he is partner in a successful catering company, Feast & Fêtes. He is also author of two cookbooks, Cooking with Daniel Boulud and Café Boulud Cookbook. He is also one of the most generous chefs in New York City, contributing his time and talents to numerous charitable causes. Daniel was involved with fellow New York chefs in a massive effort to provide cooked meals to hundreds of rescue workers at the World Trade Center, which was destroyed after terrorist attacks September 11.
While he appears to work non-stop Daniel values his family time with wife Mickey, daughter Alix and two dogs, Cannelle and Cesar. Family can be as simple as spending time cooking together or watching television curled up with the two dogs on the sofa. “They are such wonderful companions, especially to my daughter Alix,” says Daniel.
Canelle, a 13-year-old female Tibetan terrier, and Cesar, a 7-year-old male Coton de Tuelar, have led a privileged life chez Boulud. They have traveled as a complete family in the U.S. and to Europe (though not recently due to the mad cow disease concerns). One house rule is no restaurant leftovers. “We try to feed them a steady diet so they won’t gain weight,” says Daniel. The pooches usually share morning cereal with Daniel everyday. Neither will Cannelle and Cesar have the chance to visit Daniel’s restaurants. It is against New York state law to allow live animals in a food service establishment. Still, Daniel says occasionally “we look the other way.” The Surrey Hotel where Café Boulud is located is pet-friendly, so guests including actor, Richard Harris, have visiting with their pets on occasion. “We have an outdoor terrace at Café Boulud where you and your pet can dineoutside,” says Daniel.
Daniel’s restaurants are among the city’s best. Each one fits a different mood. Restaurant Daniel on 65th street is elegant and refined with sophisticated dishes like roasted loin of lamb with lemon pine-nut crust and seviche of hamachi tuna with red currants, a fennel custard and crushed pistachio nuts. Daniel features a critically acclaimed wine list overseen by wine director Jean-Luc LeDû. The lounge stays open late and becomes a gathering place for light meals, or perhaps champagne and tiny warm madeleines tucked into a white linen napkin (a personal favorite).
Café Boulud offers a more relaxed scene and a menu based on four categories: La Tradition featuring French classic and country dishes such as duo of rabbit with mutard, baby turnips and parsley spatzle; La Saison, offering seasonal dishes like trio of chilled summer melon velouté, brandywine tomato, white gazpacho or roasted Atlantic codfish with ragout of local corn, pearl onion and bacon; Le Voyage based on a world cuisines, most recently Spain, and Le Potager, featuring vegetable based dishes inspired by the farmers market.
DB Bistro Moderne opened this year in New York’s theater district. The décor is slick and modern with bold shades of red and larger than life photographs of sensual flowers that practically dance on the walls. Everyone is abuzz over the deliciously decadent DB Burger made with sirloin, braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffles, served on a parmesan bun with a side of pommes soufflé.
Daniel keeps in shape and energized with a personal trainer twice a week and golf, which appears to be the sport of choice among many chefs. When asked what his next project will be, Daniel simply answers “vacation with my family.” This is a man who never seems to rest but manages to keep his life in balance.
Daniel: 60 East 65th Street, New York City 212-288-0033
Café Boulud: 20 East 76th Street, New York City 212-772-2600
DB Bistro Moderne: 55 West 44th Street, New York City 212-391-2400
Melanie Young is owner of M. Young Communications, a public relations and events management firm representing the culinary and leisure industries. She is owner of Chance, a 4-year-old male Maltese adopted from Animal Rescue Fund.