Taste for Adventure: Daniel Boulud


Taste for Adventure: Daniel Boulud

Boulud in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

New York City-based chef Daniel Boulud has traveled all over the world, but no matter what he tastes along the way, the dishes from his childhood in Lyon, France, remain his most cherished cuisine.

Let’s play spin the globe—name the one place you’ve always wanted to go.
Australia! I have always wanted to go to Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania…

What’s your spirit city? (Where do you want to return to over and over?)
Rio de Janeiro. I always feel there is no more beautiful place. The people are super fun, and the markets, food, and music make me feel really energized.

Do you have a travel ritual?
Packing light and tight. Clothes rolled into Ziplocs. Eat well right before the flight. One glass of red wine… and sleep.

Do you maintain any routines from home while traveling or does it all go out the window?
When I’m traveling for work, the routine is very similar as I’m almost always working in the kitchen with my chefs. For personal travel it’s very different, because the routine becomes mostly about trying new food and restaurants. Not surprisingly I guess, it’s all about the meals! Something very different I do when I travel is biking. I don’t do that much in NYC and it’s such a great way to see any new place.

Sorry, you only get to eat one regional cuisine for the rest of your life. What is it?
Home: Lyon, France.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone traveling abroad for the first time?
Get local. Get local money, read about local customs, tipping etiquette, greetings, go to local markets, get a translator or translator app, and learn about the food and wine!

Sydney is at the top of Boulud's visit list

Sydney is at the top of Boulud’s visit list

Describe your travel personality in three words.
Curious, adventurous, fast. Are your trips very planned, or very spontaneous?
For personal, it’s half and half: planned enough to be interesting, unplanned enough to be relaxing. For work, it’s very planned. That is, until service is over. We are very spontaneous ‘after hours.’

What’s the one travel souvenir you’d save in a fire?
I don’t really “do” souvenirs.

What book/movie most inspired you to travel?
I love European movies about driving where you see a lot of the city in the movie, like The Italian Job or Ronin.

Who’s your ideal travel partner?
My wife, Katherine, for vacances en famille, and then my daughter Alix for a one-on-one adventure.

Which travel experience do you prefer: plugged in or unplugged?
Unplugged for sure. It’s so rare though. Even now Machu Picchu has cell service!

What’s a custom from another culture that you’d love to implement in your life back home?
I think I could use a bit of the relaxed Scandinavian lifestyle… comfort and casualness.

What’s the first thing you seek out in a new place?
Food markets and chefs.

Boulud as a child with his father, left.

Boulud as a child with his father, left.

What’s the one thing you indulge in on a trip that you don’t at home?
Freedom and sleep.

What’s your first travel memory?
Driving with my parents from Lyon to St.-Malo in Brittany. When we arrived, we ate large plateaux of fruits de mer, watching the huge tide roll out. Incredible.

Jennifer Flowers is an award-winning journalist and the senior deputy editor of Afar.
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