• The World's 50 Best Restaurants

The Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award 2015

Daniel Boulud, Restaurant Daniel, New York, USA

As a chef, Daniel Boulud is unmistakably French, despite having lived and worked in the US for more than half his life. But as a successful restaurateur, the 60-year-old has added some of his adopted country’s more positive traits – entrepreneurship, service culture, embracing new ideas – to his overall make-up. The combination sees him revered as one of the world’s finest cooks, while also being respected as an international businessman, and being loved by the industry and customers alike for his engaging personality.

For the last 20-plus years, Boulud’s flagship Restaurant Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has been one of the city’s – indeed the country’s – outstanding gourmet destinations. It retains an international reputation that sees diners from across the world flock there and New York’s concierges block-book tables months in advance. What’s more, it has appeared on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list almost every year since the ranking was introduced in 2002.

His restaurant group now spans numerous formats – bistros, cafes, brasseries, epiceries, bars and more – across the US and Canada, with outposts in London and Singapore. And while each has its own niche, they retain a core French sensibility and ingredient-driven approach that is reflective of their chef-cum-restaurateur founder.

Raised on a working farm just outside Lyon – the gastronomic heartland of France – Boulud’s deep understanding of ingredients and seasonality was imbued from birth. He began working in professional kitchens as a teenager and apprenticed under a range of legendary French chefs of the seventies including Roger Vergé, Georges Blanc and Michel Guérard (whom Boulud refers to as ‘the poet’).

Arriving in New York in 1982, the Frenchman was immediately seduced by the city’s energy and the opportunities it offered a classically trained but highly ambitious and creative young chef. By the time Restaurant Daniel opened in 1993, Boulud was already a culinary star, courtesy of dishes that were built on sound technical foundations but showcased luxury American ingredients in particular. For more than three decades now he has been at the forefront of modernising and even internationalising French cuisine: his menus informed but unconstrained by tradition, often featuring elegant, pared down reinterpretations of classics incorporating lighter sauces and delicate flavours.

Boulud’s effervescent personality and bonhomie ensure he is a much-loved figure, whether channeled through his TV appearances, on the dining room floor or among his fellow culinary professionals. Such enduring popularity ensures that this Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award will meet with wide approval.

www.danielboulud.com/

"Unmistakably French chef with a winning global reputation"

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