My Creations, Places I like

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Walking With Giants: Daniel Humm, Daniel Boulud

The Macdaddy himself: Daniel Boulud

    I won't discuss Daniel Humm with the same depth and dynamism that I am famous for because he will be thoroughly personified in my detailed Eleven Madison Park post coming soon (its going to be broken down into multiple posts due to epicness). That leaves ample space to talk about the other Daniel--Daniel Boulud (pronounced "Danelle" not "Daniel" due to Frenchness).

    Although I didn't do the book signing for Boulud because I didn't have one of his books, and also because I was in the Daniel Humm line stuck in an Eleven Madison Park trance, I did have a rather interesting encounter with the guy...
    I am in line to have my beautiful and life changing EMP book signed by Daniel Humm, when someone gets the idea to have a group photo with Humm instead of he individual photos. We ask him if after he signs our books and totes if he could take a group photo with us because we all went to Eleven Madison Park together for dinner. He was happy to accommodate our special request. A lady comes around and tells everyone to write their name and anything special you want written in your book when Humm does his signing. Taking full advantage of the situation I decide to improvise a little bit. I grabbed a sticky note and wrote: " Peter, (the secret to your veloute)" before sliding it into my EMP cookbook. When it is my turn for the signing he looks at the sticky note and laughs softly. "You want the recipe from the book?" he says to me. I looked at him smiling and told him there had to be a secret he wasn't sharing in the book because the veloute (a creamy chicken based soup, nothing out of the ordinary) we had at EMP was far far far superior to any veloute we made in class. (again laughing) Humm replies: "well you should try the recipe in the book, trust me" and gives me a subtle wink. I'll talk about my obsession with this veloute in the EMP post so it doesn't stop here.
    It comes time for our group photo and noticing that Humm is getting all the attention from the six of us, Daniel Boulud looks over and says "Daniel your getting all the attention today!" Humm looks over to Boulud and tells him to get in the picture. Boulud hops into the picture with us and at this point I think its absolutely BONKERS that both Daniel Humm and Daniel Boulud are in a picture with me. Magic was born.

Back Left: Eric, Daniel Hum, Jarrod
Middle Left: Zeth, James Kent (Chef de Cuisine of EMP and Bocuse d'Or USA team the last go around), Anthony aka "the Swan", Me (Commander an Chief)
Front Left: Leah aka "Stonewall Jackson", Daniel Boulud
Back Back Left: Daniel Humm's baby daughter

    Side note: When Daniel Humm walked into the building he was holding hands with his 2 year old daughter. Complete baller-status. At the signing I told him she could sign my book with a crayon if she wanted to. Jokes of course...but seriously, she's a Humm, Id let her sign my forehead with finger paint. Was that weird?

    Daniel Boulud was hilarious, and super engaging with all the people who had their books signed. Again, as with Keller, Bould gets a lot of negative chatter among students because he doesn't pay externs at his restaurants and expects a hell of a lot in return. A friend, Sara just accepted an externship at Bar Boulud, his French bistro and they pay her 40 hours of minimum wage for 80 hours of work. I'm not going to debate the ethics of paid vs unpaid extern labor here but a lot of people get turned off by the idea. I mean, you have to remember your working at one of the finest restaurants in the world. I don't know I can see both sides of the argument. Clearly I need a paid externship because I'm a few B292 outings from making a "will work for food" cardboard sign...
    A few things I have herd about Daniel Boulud (true or not they're pretty funny).
1.) My Freshman Seminar professor from last block told us Boulud makes his entire staff refer to him as "daddy"...which is a bit strange, boarder line creepy behavior. DID YOU PLATE ZE RISOTTO? "...Yes daddy"
2.) Eric says Boulud parties with the rest of them. Working in restaurants since he was 13, Boulud was stripped of a normal childhood and all the mischief that comes along with it (my mom used to try an trick my brother and I with a hug, aka smell our breath and clothes). To make up for it, he parties like an 18 year old whenever he can apparently.

I was going to try and upload a segment from the documentary, Eat This New York! I recoded off of Netflix but Youtube was being weird. I spent all this time getting the movie on Netflix to the right part where Daniel Boulud talks about his childhood growing up on a farm and how he came to be a chef in New York. I recorded the segment on my video recorder and was going to post it here for your entertainment but alas, it did not work. I'll give you the text from my favorite part instead. Boulud talks about the difference between chefs and artists because a lot of times chefs get lumped into the artist category because much of what we do can be classified as art. He says the difference is that chefs are more craftsman. Here's the excerpt:

"We often think then chefs are artist. Umm, but I think for me, we are just good craftsman. Of course at times we can be very artistic but not for the sake of what it looks like…I believe then, it’s easier to be an artist and be able to for example a real artist don’t really, um...he create once and he pass on to the next thing. I think for us we constantly perpetually recreate what we do. Sometimes we create something and it never comes back, but when we do a new dish and its perfect, we want to do it over again and over again and I don’t think any of us would be too happy to paint the same painting a thousand times"

    I have a word document with famous quotes about anything I find interesting and this one is the most recent addition. Hope you enjoyed. I'll have the EMP first section post up tomorrow or the next so keep a look out. Be good, world.

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