A Day in the Life of Chef Daniel Boulud as he Preps for his Exclusive Dinner

Daniel Boulud 2 courtesy Daniel KriegerPhoto Credit: Daniel Krieger

Daniel Boulud is a household name in the culinary industry, known for his iconic restaurants, Daniel, db Bistro Moderne, Café Boulud and more, as well as his gourmet grocery, Épicerie Boulud, with three locations in New York. The James Beard award-winning chef has eateries throughout the world’s key cities, including New York, Miami, Palm Beach, Boston, London, Montreal, Singapore, Toronto and Washington D.C. The French chef spends his time jet-setting throughout the globe, taking the time to check in on each of his teams and restaurants, as well as work on future endeavors. However, Miami is one of his favorite stops along the journey, where he uses his time to work hard and also still have some fun.

Here, we catch up with the renowned chef as he preps for his special SOBEWFF ticketed dinner at his restaurant, db Bistro Moderne, in downtown Miami. He partnered  with the top female chef in the world, Dominique Crenn, as well as chef Michael White, for an all-star culinary experience to kick off the 2017 festival while he was only in town for a mere 48 hours. We take a look at a day in the life of Chef Boulud and find out his secrets to success:

Chef Daniel Boulud
Daniel Boulud, Dominique Crenn and Michael White

9 AM: I didn’t get a chance to go to the gym today, but I started my morning with a cup of coffee and some time on the indoor driving range upstairs [in the J.W. Marriott Downtown]. It’s very cool, they have a virtual golf course. A little 9 holes in the morning is nice, so you don’t have to work too much.

10 AM: After that, I meet my team downstairs at db Bistro Moderne for some interviews before I start prepping the kitchen for my day.

11 AM: Following my final interviews, I will go to check out the new Bachour Bakery for a French Croissant; I haven’t tried it yet and I’ve been wanting to check it out. I’m also curious to see the new Brickell City Centre, so I’ll take a walk around there for a bit.

12 PM: I head back to the restaurant and have a meeting with my team. We’re tasting some new dishes over lunch for our new spring menu coming out next month at the end of March. I’m only here for 48 hours, so my time in the kitchen is quite valuable. If I was here longer, I’d love to go across the street and go fishing and take a look at all the boats docked there. I also love going to the Miami Design District and taking a look in the galleries. The city of Miami is great because it’s so cosmopolitan, so international; It has a mix of everything. There’s a good vibe to Miami, as well as an evolution of the artistic scene. But unfortunately, there’s no time for that on this trip.

12:30 PM: We take a look at the cocktails on the menu and go through that, as well as the wine list. It’s important to try everything.

1-4 PM: It’s time to cook. I brought in two of my close friends and very talented chefs for the dinner tonight, Dominique Crenn and Michael White. Dominique is doing a mussels dish, so we have to open all of the mussels, working through little batches at a time, and we do that with a pressure cooker. We have to clean all of the mussels after they open and arrange them around thin sheets of cucumbers and smoked creme fraiche. Then, we have to work on the lamb garnish and the honey glazed eggplant and prepare the tzatziki, which is our main entree dish of the night. The lamb is more of a Middle Eastern dish but with an American-style preparation. This will occupy most of our afternoon. We also have the dessert which I am working on with our pastry chef. This will be a nice dessert with hazelnuts and an orange base. Tonight, we’ll have about 20 people in the kitchen, as well as our visiting chefs.

4:30 PM: Before a big meal, I always have to inspect the dining room and communicate with the team at the front of the restaurant. Then, we have a big meeting with the whole team and discuss every detail of the night.

Chef Daniel Boulud
Chef Daniel Boulud in the kitchen preparing first course of dinner

5 PM: Of course, a ritual before every big dinner is tasting everything, and giving some pointers on the direction we want to take. I make sure that all the dishes taste the way they’re supposed to and that I am informed of everything, including who is coming to the dinner. I love that during the SOBEWFF I get to catch up with some great friends from all over the world (normally, we all gather for dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab while we’re in town–that’s usually what I look forward to the most, but this time I am not here long enough). We also must taste the wine.

6 PM: I have an espresso before we start. This gets me going for the night ahead. Dinner starts at 7 p.m., and then after we will party [laughs]. We haven’t decided where we’ll go yet. I have to be in Montreal tomorrow, so I’ll be gone super early. It was too quick of a trip; I wish that I could spend four days here, that would be perfect!

Kumamoto Oysters at db Bistro SOBEWFF Dinner
Kumamoto Oysters at db Bistro SOBEWFF Dinner