From Apprentice To Famous Chef, How One Man Heated Up His Career

When things gets hot, chef Daniel Boulud stays in the kitchen. One of Fast Company‘s Most Creative People, he finds his success in a combination of entrepreneurship, talent, and keeping his team’s fire stoked.

Daniel Boulud talks of opening a restaurant for the day like he’s asking the sun to rise. “How can we make the day different, every day?” he asks himself and his staff. “By having a good creative meeting, a good goal to set.” Short, productive meetings are the order.


Raised on a farm outside of Lyon, Boulud’s career began to blossom when he was a 15-year-old finalist in France’s competition for Best Culinary Apprentice. From there, he’s tied his apron and rolled up his sleeves as private chef to the European Commission in Washington, D.C., and executive chef at Le Cirque in New York. Today he’s a Michelin-star recognized restaurateur with establishments in New York City, Florida, Canada, London, and China.

Daniel Boulud

Between so many clattering kitchens, Boulud attains peace of mind in quiet places like Central Park’s meadow. But interaction with colleagues, not solitude, is how he says he finds inspiration.

“Talk to the people you trust, and get them to unlock you in a way,” Boulud says. “But creativity comes from many forms, I think; working with other professionals and communicating about a subject–an idea–is the best way to not get stuck with it.”

In January 2013 Daniel NYC was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame–an achievement, he says, not gained alone.

“I think it’s about teamwork in a restaurant business and being a chef. So it’s very important to keep the team tight.”

He speaks more about how he successfully runs his kitchens in the video above.

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