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Postcard From…Daniel Boulud

Friday, October 4, 2013
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DEAR AVENUE,

Chef and author Daniel Boulud finds inspiration below the equator


No argument that Daniel Boulud is one of the most acclaimed chefs and restaurateurs in the game. The French chef is best known for his Michelin three-star restaurant Daniel, in New York, but lends his name and his vision to a number of other successful concepts in New York and around the world. This month, the chef publishes Daniel: My French Cuisine—a collection of more than 75 signature recipes and 12 more casual personal favorites. It’s no surprise that the man who triumphed at adapting French cuisine to American ingredients and tastes garners much of his inspiration by traveling the world. What we were surprised to learn is that it’s neither Paris nor Nice, or anywhere in France at all that inspires him the most. 


Off to Rio

My favorite place is Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I like to stay at the Hotel Fasano Rio because it is perfectly located, just a bit away from Copacabana but in a lovely part of Rio near Ipanema beach. I also love their rooftop restaurant and pool.

Edible education

I love to visit the different markets to see the local vegetables and produce—especially the one right across from Felipe Bronze’s restaurant Oro—on Saturdays, and try some of the street food, which is so soulful.

Foodie friends

I visit all my friends there—the chef Claude Troisgros; Vik Muniz, a talented artist; Roberto Fasano; João Penido and Luis Braga, who has a beautiful home in the countryside with an amazing sculpture garden and grows organic produce there.

Brazil, Boulud style

Floresta da tijuca, the world’s largest urban forest, is amazing and right in the middle of the city. A visit to Rio wouldn’t be complete without stopping by Corcovado and the Cristo
Redentor statue. See Pão de Açúcar, or
Sugarloaf, the famous peak jutting out from the water. I always eat at my friend Claude Troisgro’s restaurant Olympe. A bit farther afield is Petrópolis; and the beach resort Búzios, two hours from Rio, and I like to get out of town sometimes to see the beach
or countryside.

Time out

Traveling gives me time to think in a remote place and connect the dots of where I am. In a market, for example, you discover new tastes, new dishes; the soul food of a country, which really inspires me. For instance, I learned about feijoada in Brazil, and I have a recipe for one in my cookbook Braise, but I wouldn’t have understood it in the same way without tasting it in Brazil. Every experience in a home or a street market offers you a different point of inspiration.

Multicultural kitchen

Every country makes a beautiful vessel or bowl or platter, maybe out of wood or terra cotta, and I like to bring home something like that that I can use in my kitchen.

Always pack

My Pilates mat and foam roller, so I can stay loose on the road. But if I stay at the Mandarin Oriental, there’s one in every room!
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