Daniel Boulud has been cooking for hungry Manhattanites at his eponymous restaurant, DANIEL, for 20 years. But now, the three-starred Michelin chef is teaching diners how to recreate their favorite dishes at home in his new cookbook, Daniel: My French Cuisine. “These recipes really capture the essence of what we do best, and while not always simple, we make them inspiring for a cook,” he tells Haute Living.
Though the idea of preparing a gourmet meal in a New York apartment may seem daunting, Boulud believes that French fare is the least intimidating, and the best foundation, for all chefs regardless of skill level. “French cuisine first and foremost is soulful,” he explains. “It is about ingredients, simplicity and a balance of seasoning that pairs beautifully with wine.”
What made you want to become a chef?
When I was 14, I started working in the best restaurant in Lyon. From that day on, I dreamed of being my own boss someday.
Describe your cooking style.
There are many styles I like, which is why I have several restaurants. But in principle, my cuisine is contemporary French with classic technique and consistent attention to using seasonal and local ingredients.
What recipe from your new cookbook should your fans definitely attempt?
If I have to choose only one, it would be the Miso-Glazed Sea Scallop Rosace because it is a wonderful appetizer, attainable and aesthetically gorgeous. It has ethnic touches, but the balance is French.
How has DANIEL evolved over the last two decades?
DANIEL keeps evolving. It’s important to always emphasize the experience to the customer of the value, soul and progress of our cuisine, service and offering. To be both timeless and relevant, you need to find a balance between a young and passionate team and the veterans, and of course, varied clientele who are in search of great food, great service and a great setting.
What is your favorite entrée, appetizer and dessert currently served at DANIEL?
As we enter fall/winter, I’m looking forward to dishes like the mosaic of venison, the sea bass variation and the combination of chocolate and coffee.
Is it hard to strike a balance between work and pleasure when you live above your restaurant?
Yes, but my home is my escape when I feel the need. I can have the pleasure of enjoying a meal with my wife… and then go back to work!
What is your least favorite food?
Bananas, Chinese insects and anything else with a really weird texture like sea cucumbers.
What would you choose as your last meal on earth?
An extravagant rustic meal from my home farm in Lyon. A whole spit-roasted pig with vegetables, sausage and cheese served right on the table. Plus a lot of wine, family and friends.