Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Daniel Boulud Dinner at the James Beard House
"You win the award for having the hair style closest to James Beard!" exclaimed Chef Boulud. "Thank you Chef" I some what sheepishly replied. That's what I get for sitting underneath a photo of James Beard and being, how you say, folliclely challenged.
There was a bit of electricity in the air as I made my way to 167 West 12th Street in Manhattan on Monday. Even though the entire pantheon of culinary deities have cooked there, there is something special about having Daniel Boulud stopping by and whipping up dinner. Even some of the James Beard staffers, who have seen it all, eaten it all, had an excited glint in their eyes.
For those of you who do not know Chef Boulud, his is the typical immigrant story. Young chef from Lyon, France, comes to America, is showered with every accolade available to a chef. builds restaurant empire. Well, maybe it isn't the typical immigrant story, but you get my drift.
Dinner began with hors d'oeuvres in the backyard. How I covet that backyard in the city, but I digress. A fine champagne from Marc Hebrat got the diners into a festive mood. An array of fine starters soon began arriving from the kitchen, the gazpacho and the tomato basil arancini being standouts.
We took our seats inside and dinner itself began in earnest. The chef responsible for the course came out and said a few words about it while we hungrily devoured it. With so many great restaurants in your empire, you also have a small villages population of chefs working for you. In Daniel's case, a whole lot of really talented, creative chefs in your retinue.
In a dinner like this, it is often difficult to pick a favorite course. I would have to choose the sweet corn agnolotti in this case. It was just bursting with the concentrated flavors of summer.
Eventually, the man himself, Chef Boulud appeared at our table. We had a very enjoyable time talking to the Chef about the dinner, his restaurants, and other culinary topics. He was very gracious with his time with us because I found out later he had to go to another event later that same evening.