Go into the kitchen with Chef Daniel Boulud

- This edition of the Lap of Luxury brought us into the kitchen at Café Boulud with Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef de Cuisine Aaron Bludorn, who are making two beautiful fish.

The first, a fluke caught this very morning, is cut in filets, which have been slightly cured for a few minutes and then cut into slivers. The fluke is served with coriander crème fraîche, apples, and fresh finely julienned ginger.

The lap of luxury? Uni in the middle, finished with caviar.

The second fish is a freshly caught sea bass from Rhode Island that is about to become a Chef Boulud classic.

The dish, Sea Bass en Paupiette, was created in Chef Boulud's youth. It is composed of three ingredients: the bass, the leeks, and the potatoes. It is served with a red wine sauce.

In the kitchen at Café Boulud on this day, Chef is not only preparing two extraordinary fish dishes, he is getting ready for the Robb Report Culinary Masters at the Montage Laguna Beach next week.

It's three days of delicious dining, wine, and golf, with eight world-class chefs, all to benefit Ment'or, a foundation that Chefs Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Jérôme Bocuse founded a decade ago.

David Arnold, managing director of Robb Report, says there aren't a lot of culinary schools in America and they're expensive. So for young people who want to get into the culinary field, Ment'or has a wonderful grant program that Culinary Masters supports. Chef Boulud describes Culinary Masters as a great gathering of chefs and people who are passionate about food and golf.

Ment'or is an organization very close to his heart. Chef Boulud started working in a kitchen in Lyon, France as a teenager, himself. And legend has it, he had never been inside a restaurant before. Chef Boulud told me that isn't an urban legend at all. It's true. The first time he stepped in a real restaurant kitchen was the first time he went into a real restaurant.

He became passionate about cooking and also travel. In in 1982, he moved to New York City, where he worked at the Polo Lounge with another rising star, Thomas Keller. They were 27 and were working side by side.

Chef Keller was the chef de partie. Chef Boulud was the sous chef. Chef Boulud calls it the only time in his life that he ranked above Thomas Keller.

In 1986, Boulud was tapped to give Le Cirque new life. He says he was taking the most famous restaurant in America and trying to make it even more famous with the food. It was a tough job. Had he failed, he would have destroyed the most famous restaurant in America. But he succeeded, winning his first James Beard Award.

At Le Cirque, he created the now famous Sea Bass en Paupiette and another one of his classic dishes: Sea Scallops in Black Tie, which he describes as sea scallops in perfect season layered with black truffle in perfect season, wrapped in spinach leaves and puff pastry.

In 1992, Chef Boulud set out to create his own landmark. He opened Daniel in 1993 and won another James Beard Award in 1994.

In 1998, he moved Daniel, opening Café Boulud.

Three years later, Chef opened DB Bistro Moderne and created the most gourmet burger New York had ever seen. It had braised short ribs in red wine with truffles, root vegetables, and foie gras in the middle of a burger. For $150 you could add four layers of truffles, and many people did. Chef Boulud says it was magical.

Today, Chef Boulud runs 13 restaurants in nine cities around the world.

He is planning to open a new space at One Vanderbilt near Grand Central in a few years, which he says, he is very excited about. Chef says he plans to create something different than his other restaurants, still French, but something more contemporary in its approach.

And he has his sights on a diner. He calls a diner the "social rendezvous of a village" and thinks it would be cool to have his own. He already has a fun name picked out, but won't share it just yet.

Whether it's a diner or Daniel, Chef Boulud says the mission is the same. They try to be very genuine, honest and creative with what they do. They don't want to be a "has-been," yet they want to be consistent.

www.danielboulud.com

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