Photo by: Thomas Schauer >> studio for photography LLC

Thomas Schauer >> studio for photography LLC

How many chefs can trace their first restaurant job back to a countess? Daniel Boulud, winner of half a dozen James Beard Awards and owner of multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, can.

Appropriately enough for a chef who shows a reverence for great ingredients, Boulud began his life on a farm: “There was a certain connection to everything,” he recalls about growing up on a 60-acre plot near Lyon. He was surrounded by vegetables, orchards, chickens, and cows—and it was there that his grandmother first taught him to cook, at a small café attached to the ranch. For years, he’d deliver fresh milk and eggs to a countess, who eventually heard about his dream of becoming a chef. She placed a call to the chef at Nandron, a two-starred restaurant in the city, to get Boulud a job. Only three years later, at just 17, he was awarded Best Culinary Apprentice in France by the Maitres Cuisiniers de.

From that point on, Boulud charged through the cosmos of France’s Michelin-starred restaurants on a meteoric rise: he worked for Georges Blanc, Roger Vergé, and Michel Guérard, some of the greatest French chefs of our time. After his first experience working abroad in Copenhagen’s Plaza Hotel, Boulud took an even further leap to Washington, D.C., as the private chef to the Ambassador of the European Commission. But Boulud couldn’t contain his ambitions within a private kitchen, so he soon made a break for NYC, where he cooked alongside Thomas Keller at the Polo Lounge.

From there, it’s easy to run down Boulud’s impressive resume, from his six career James Beard Foundation awards to the expansion of his restaurant empire from Singapore to Miami, London and beyond. But you can't eat glitz and panache! Instead, find proof of his genius and culinary mastery in his refined, custardy French omelette; Basque-style cod simmered in tomato-chorizo sauce; salade niçoise drizzled with his grandmother’s garlic vinaigrette; and luscious chocolate soufflés that tremble on your spoon.

French cuisine is all about technique. These dishes, in particular, can be challenging to make if each step isn't carried out just right; with written instructions alone, it can be hard to achieve the best results. That's why video instruction from a perfectionist like Boulud is a rare gift. Simply press play to plunge into his delectable universe, and you'll amaze yourself by what you can accomplish with Boulud's help.

Daniel's Restaurants:

Daniel's Books: