Daniel Boulud shares his life lessons with Singaporean chefs
French-born American chef Daniel Boulud has shared his life experiences with 40 local young culinarians and restaurateurs, through a series called In Conversation With organised by Marina Bay Sands Singapore.
The sharing session is part of Sands Cares – which is Marina Bay Sand's corporate social responsibility program – and aims to inspire young people in professional culinary fields in Singapore
The event was attended by graduating culinary students from three local institutions: Nanyang Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, and The Culinary Institute of America, Singapore. The students got the opportunity to give an ear to the famous chef's career path, from his entry into the F&B industry to his first restaurant that opened in New York in 1993.
Having grown up on a farm in France, Boulud, 67, credited his culinary inspiration to his French roots and says he always seeks new approaches for cuisine innovations.
French-born American chef Daniel Boulud talks about his career
The celebrity chef shared that the most important thing for a chef is patience and a good mentor, not finding a famous restaurant to work for, “who can teach and help you to become a good chef”.
“I was fortunate to have had many good mentors whom I leaned on for support throughout my career,” he said. “They were travelling the world in the 1970s, from Japan to Brazil, teaching young chefs how to be great chefs. A good mentor will follow you, advise you, and encourage you to keep growing.”
Besides that, he said young chefs need to have great energy, patience and passion to stay driven as well as “always show themselves an asset to their teams, no matter how big or small their roles are and fight for consistency and precision for every plate set on the table”.
Named the world’s best restaurateur by Les Grandes Tables du Monde in 2021, Boulud continues to expand his restaurants to cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Dubai, the Bahamas and Singapore. He also talked about the challenges his restaurant was facing during the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“In New York, we had employees whom we have had to furlough, and many of them have been with me for more than 20 years,” he added.
“But we were fortunate to have the support of fellow peers in the industry. For instance, we were invited to organise cooking classes as people stayed home to cook for their families. We raised $750,000 to support staff who needed them most to help their families cope during these challenging times.”
Nicholas Heng, a 25-year-old student from The Culinary Institute of America, Singapore, described Boulud’s presentation as “insightful”.
“It was interesting to learn how despite working over 50 years, Chef Boulud feels like he has never worked a day in his life. It is great to see his passion and how he is constantly happy doing what he does,” said Heng.
“It is great motivation for budding chefs like us to be bold in taking the first step forward, always looking on the bright side, and be open to learning new things at any point in our careers.”
As part of a series called In Conversation With, organised by Marina Bay Sands Singapore, French-born US chef Daniel Boulud shared career advice with graduating culinary students.
The In Conversation With series was launched in 2014 to provide an inspirational playground for young people embarking on their career paths. Others to participate in the series include Jessie J, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Joss Stone, along with actor Tom Hanks.