Q-and-A with chef Daniel Boulud

With over a dozen restaurants, a gourmet grocery store in New York City and countless TV appearances to his name, describing Daniel Boulud as a famed culinary figure almost seems like an understatement.

Originally from the region of Lyon in France, Daniel Boulud came to the United States in his mid-twenties with the dream of opening his own restaurant and proving to the world that he could make it successful. After working as the executive chef at Le Cirque – one of the most consistently praised restaurants in New York – he opened his own venture, Daniel. And as the saying goes, the rest is history!

Boulud’s newest project is Toronto’s Café Boulud, a restaurant nestled in the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours sampling the menu. Here are some of my favourite bites, as well as my Q-and-A session with the chef himself.

Octopus á la Plancha with marcona almonds, rocket, orange and jerez vinegar

 

What made you want to open shop in Toronto and what is one of your favourite dishes on the menu?

I’ve been to Toronto many times and I’ve always had a loyal following of customers from the Toronto area who have visited my restaurants in New York. Our menu changes often, but I love the black cod – it’s briny and rich, a taste of the sea and a taste of the garden.

B.C. Black Cod Persillade with clam and parsley broth, coco beans and lemon omani

 

What ingredients are you currently excited to cook with?

  • Italian black rice, a nutty, gummy rice with an interesting texture
  • Amaranth seeds, which resemble tapioca
  • New kinds of oysters


What are your thoughts on culinary competition shows on TV?

Cooks are very distracted today, which worries me. But it’s interesting, challenging. It can now be a short ride to becoming popular – I’ve been doing “Iron Chef” every night in my kitchen for 30 years!

What are your best entertaining tips?

  • Serve a good Champagne
  • Prepare things to nibble on
  • Always have a cheese course
  • Serve a one-pot meal like a roast or a beautiful pie
  • Don’t forget dessert! I usually get one from my restaurant to serve to guests.


What’s your go-to brunch recipe?

Scrambled eggs to feed a crowd – and which take 30 minutes to slowly scramble! – finished with black or white truffles.

Grapefruit Givré with sesame halva, rose loukoum and grapefruit sorbet

 

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