For foodies, restaurant fans and restaurant workers, chefs and chef-wannabes, and for everyone who devoured Kitchen Confidential, here is a revealing look at what goes on behind the scenes at the world-renowned Restaurant Daniel as chef/owner Daniel Boulud strives for perfection–and for the New York Times’ top four-star rating.
The hushed, elegant atmosphere of a fine restaurant often conceals an intensely stressful workplace where highly trained, underpaid staffers work backbreaking hours against impossible dead-lines, often at the whim of a driven and demanding yet creatively gifted boss. New York’s Restaurant Daniel is one such place. With the complete cooperation of Chef Daniel Boulud, author Leslie Brenner spent a full year at the restaurant, getting to know the staff in the kitchen, the front of the house, and the manager’s office. And she reports on it all with a vivid immediacy: the maître d’ shuffling reservations when a VIP shows up unannounced, the young pastry chef who gets passed over for a promotion (and then gets the last laugh), even the financial arrangements that keep the restaurant’s doors open for business. And underlying all the daily drama is Chef Boulud’s obsession with getting a fourth star from the New York Times.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Religion eBook: The Fourth Star|
|Release Date: 12-15-2010|
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|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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The Fourth Star
Daniel Boulud, This Is Your Day
Thursday, January 4, 2000
The fourth day of the new millennium. But to the chefs and captains at Daniel, the line cooks and dishwashers, the sommeliers and maitre d's and bakers and office assistants and reservationists and publicists and runners and busboys, it's business as usual. Behind them: the $650-a-head four-course New Year's Eve millennial gala dinner they turned out five nights earlier; before them, 354 covers: a busy Thursday night.
It's 5:20 p.m., and in the main kitchen on the ground floor, the cooks are going through their last-minute preparations: tucking square stainless-steel canisters of garnishes, cut earlier that morning, into refrigerated units at their knees, completing their mise en place. In a restaurant kitchen, cooks prepare everything they can hours before they have to actually begin a meal service. The mise en place is the organizational foundation of the professional kitchen; without it, the cook, and therefore the restaurant, would be lost. To accomplish it, cooks have been downstairs in the prep kitchen since five o'clock this morning, simmering stocks, making sauces, cutting garnishes, peeling, slicing, dicing vegetables, portioning out meats, poultry, and fish. Now they arrange all their prepared ingredients within arm's reach so no time will be wasted as they cook during the press of dinner service. The first seating will begin at 5:45, unfashionably early in New York, where everyone wants to dine at eight, but at a restaurant as hot as Daniel, one takes what one can get. For despite the fact that Daniel received only three stars from the New York Times seven months earlier, Boulud's tremendous talent is lost on no one.