Happy (Belated) Birthday, Bouley

Charlie Trotter Wasn’t the Only Chef Celebrating 25 Years on Friday

David Bouley (photo via www.davidbouley.com)

David Bouley (photo via www.davidbouley.com)

Last Wednesday, the food sections and Twitterverse were ablaze with tributes to Julia Child on the date she would have turned 100, as well as to Tom Colicchio, who shares the birthday with the cooking icon. (Poor Tertulia restaurant, which tuned two-years old on the 15th, nearly got lost in the shuffle.)

Then, as well all know, on Friday, Charlie Trotter’s turned 25. In addition to our own interview,   profiles and blog posts proliferated like mad, all building up to Sunday night’s gala dinner.

Turns out, another chef celebrated a silver anniversary on the 17th, but in much more modest and subdued fashion: The following Tweet went out Friday night, from David Bouley’s account “At 5:30pm, August 17th, 1987, I started my TriBeCa restaurant, 25 YEARS AGO!”

There followed something of a virtual party as various chefs and admirers exchanged Tweets with Bouley: Kerry Heffernan reminisced that “I was there as Chef Garde Manger.” Richard Blais Tweeted “thanks 4 the inspiration.” Harold Dieterle chimed in “congrats on 25 years…. I had the best meal of my life there in 1999. It was that moment, I realized I wanted to be a chef.” We at Toqueland took it as an opportunity to offer our congratulations and props to old pal and current Bouley chef de cuisine Brian Bistrong. And so on.

The best and longest exchange was between Bouley and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who took the moment to sing the praises of a dinner he had recently at Bouley, which prompted the latter to invite Vongerichten to have dinner again in a few weeks when “my garden will be in full bloom, & I want to make you a vegetarian meal, all organic, 100% grown w/my own hands!” Vongerichten suggested they cook in tandem to which Bouley responded, “That’s like when we all cooked together and no one knew what the hell we were doing!” (Ah, it’s memories like that which helped inspire our forthcoming book on the chefs of the 70s and 80s.)

Congratulations to David Bouley on reaching this milestone. We look forward to hearing about the Alumni Dinner planned for October 11 in the Bouley Test Kitchen as part of the New York City Wine & Food Festival.

- Andrew

 

PS If you worked in a major American restaurant in the 1970s or 1980s (kitchen or front of house), I'd love to hear from you and possibly interview you for my forthcoming oral history of that era. Please reach me at andrew@toqueland.com.

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About the Author

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ANDREW FRIEDMAN has collaborated on more than 25 cookbooks and other projects with some of America’s finest and most well-known chefs including Michael White, Paul Liebrandt, Alfred Portale, and former White House Chef Walter Scheib. He co-edited the popular anthology Don’t Try This at Home and is a two-time winner of the IACP Award for Best Chef or Restaurant Cookbook. Andrew is an editor at large for TENNIS Magazine and the coauthor of American tennis star James Blake’s New York Times bestselling memoir Breaking Back. In 2009, he published his first nonfiction book, Knives at Dawn: America’s Quest for Culinary Glory at the Bocuse d’Or, the World’s Most Prestigious Cooking Competition. He is currently working on a cookbook with chefs Walker Stern and Joseph Ogrodnek of Brooklyn's Battersby restaurant, and is writing an oral history of the American chefs of the 1970s and 1980s, to be published by Ecco Press in 2015.