Parties & Events

Looking Forward to the New Taste of the Upper West Side with Daniel Boulud

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Daniel Boulud by Carly Otness/
Daniel Boulud by Carly Otness/

Sure, we’re traditionally known as more of an Upper East Side magazine, but we can’t help but note all of the fantastic things that have been happening on the Upper West Side (among other thriving neighborhoods in the city, of course!) in the past decade.

One such event is the New Taste of the Upper West Side, to take place this year May 27-31. In its seventh year, the food festival showcases the major culinary chops that can be found up and around Columbus Avenue, while raising money for neighborhood improvement and beautification projects including the Columbus Avenue BID’s sustainable streetscape project, Wellness in the Schools program and Theodore Roosevelt Park Fund.

The event culminates with the “Best of the West” awards, hosted by NBC’s TODAY contributor and New York Knicks Broadcaster Jill Martin with Honoree Chef Daniel Boulud. We caught up with the superstar chef in anticipation of the event.

1) Who—or what—initially drove you to become a chef and restaurateur? 

Having been born and raised on a farm, in the countryside of Lyon, my family, who always took cooking very seriously, and taught me that cooking start with growing, raising or sourcing the best ingredients.

Later on, I had a chance to start working for one of the best restaurants in Lyon and from there I never looked back and always kept working for the best Chefs in France. I needed first to be a good cook before I ever dreamed to be a Chef. At the age of 21, I was sent to Denmark to be the executive sous chef for a restaurant where the 3-star chef Roger Verge was consulting for.

From that point on, I wanted to take more responsibilities and become a chef myself. What drove me was everything I learned from every chef/mentor I worked for, and I still continue to remember what makes them so good and apply it today in my business.

2) Due to the immense success you’ve had in your career, you’ve become a great role model and inspiration to many aspiring cooks and restaurateurs! Who were some of the people you truly looked up to and aspired to be like, back in the day (or now, even)? Are there any particular fellow chefs whose cooking you absolutely enjoy nowadays?

I owe everything to New York and the community of chefs who were here before me and continue to grow today. In the ’80s, I was inspired by the famous French restaurants such as La Cote Basque, Lutece, La Grenouille, La Caravelle, Le Cirque, and Jean-Louis Palladin, and of course American chefs such as Larry Forgione. I quickly became part of the next generation with Charlie Palmer, Alfred Portale, Jean-Georges, David Bouley, and we all started to train the next generation such as Bill Telepan, Michael Lomanaco.

Three decades later, I’m proud to be along the young generation [of chefs] including David Chang, Daniel Humm, and so many talented other current chefs.

3) What’s one food ingredient your kitchens could never do without? What’s your favorite ingredient to work with, and/or favorite dish to make?

My home kitchen wouldn’t be complete without Moutarde d’Orleans, Tabasco sauce and harissa. My favorite dish to make is always a braise because I can enjoy my guests’ company as I am cooking.

4) If you had to present a sumptuous, three-course meal based on the theme “guilty pleasures,” which three dishes of yours would you include?

Scrambled eggs with caviar duck a la presse.

5) Do you have plans to open a new restaurant/food anytime soon (anywhere on the globe, but particularly in New York)?

db Brasserie in Vegas just opened this week and I am planning on opening another Epicerie Boulud in NYC soon, [not to mention] a Bar Boulud in Boston and a DBGB in Washington DC—so that keeps me pretty busy.

6) How does it feel to be the honoree of this year’s New Taste of the Upper West Side? If you could select your successor (i.e., choose next year’s honoree), who would it be, and why?

I would choose Jean-Georges, also a citizen of the Upper West Side and a chef who globally represents New York.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit: 


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