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Daniel Boulud’s 5 Rising Stars to Know Now

They man some of the finest kitchens in the city. Here, the master’s proteges submit to a quick-fire grilling.

TOP CHEFS

Mentoring, for Boulud (second from left), has been an instrumental part of having a successful team, whose captains include (from left): Restaurant Daniel’s chef de cuisine, Eddy Leroux; Cafe Boulud’s executive chef, Aaron Bludorn; Restaurant Daniel’s executive pastry chef, Ghaya Oliveira; Boulud Sud’s executive chef, Travis Swikard; and Restaurant Daniel’s executive chef, Jean-Francois Bruel.

1. Aaron Bludorn
RESTAURANT Cafe Boulud 
YEARS WITH BOULUD
WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM BOULUD Working for Daniel is like getting a master’s degree. It’s exciting thinking about what you are going to bring to Daniel and how you will influence the menu. But the minute I’m not nervous about bringing a menu to Daniel then I have to think 
about what I’m doing. 
CHEF TALK The chef I was with prior, Douglas Keane, said, “You should go work for Daniel; 
he is a real chef.”

2. Jean-Francois Bruel
RESTAURANT Daniel 
YEARS WITH BOULUD 20 
FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB I’ve been passionate about making terrines from the very beginning.
HARDEST PART OF THE JOB You face challenges every day with staffing and consistency, and when you change the team over the years, you want to make sure the consistency stays the same or gets better.
CHEF TALK We recruit the best people to work for us and buy the best products in the market.

3. Eddy Leroux
RESTAURANT Daniel 
YEARS WITH BOULUD 14 
FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB I love to travel, taste different food and mix my experiences with my training. That’s the good thing about our industry: There’s limitless creation, so every menu and every season we have excitement. 
HARDEST PART OF THE JOB Having the same level of execution every night. 
CHEF TALK It’s a blessing for chefs to be in New York because you have the best of cuisine from all around the world.

4. Ghaya Oliveira, James Beard Award Nominee
RESTAURANT Daniel 
YEARS WITH BOULUD 15 
FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB Making pastries—my favorites are pistachio and hazelnut. 
CHEF TALK I started from the bottom, carrying and organizing things, and washing dishes, then slowly worked my way up. I was behind in a lot of things when I started at Daniel, but I decided this was the rest of my life and what I wanted to do. You have to go to Daniel Boulud to become somebody.

5. Travis Swikard
RESTAURANT Boulud Sud & Bar Boulud 
YEARS WITH BOULUD
FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB I love the crudo; it’s really fun because it changes every day and I have my hands in the water. Fisherman call me at 3AM saying that they just got this fish in this morning. I like to show the cooks something new every day, and I find inspiration in the ingredients. 
CHEF TALK I recently took over as the culinary director for Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, so I taste everything.