Daniel Boulud redefines living above the shop, creating a dream home kitchen a fraction of the size of his professional one downstairs, yet with everything he needs
Siweb: What prompted you to make a new kitchen for yourself after all this time?
: Well, I am a person of change. We change things in the restaurant all the time, and there were some major changes in my life, so I decided to renovate the whole apartment, to make it more modern—it hadn't been touched since I moved here in 1998.
ED: What did you want from your new kitchen?
DB: First, I wanted more space. The old one was about 150 square feet. It was difficult for my partner, Katherine, and me to cook in it together, and there was a wall between the kitchen and the dining room. Like most people who entertain, I don't like to be cut off from my guests when I cook. I wanted it modern, but not too modern—efficient and serene, and I wanted it to be distinctly a home kitchen, not a professional one.
In the dining area of Daniel Boulud's Manhattan apartment, a light fixture by hangs above a table custom-designed with architect . The chairs are by , and the artworks are by Esteban Vicente.
ED: Is it true that you used to cook for friends at your restaurant?
DB: Yes. Daniel is right downstairs, and it has a 5,000-square-foot professional kitchen, but I wanted to have somewhere I could entertain at home for small groups and close friends, a place to open a good bottle of wine and enjoy a quiet evening.
ED: You used architect Stephanie Goto, who designed Morimoto and Monkey Bar. What was it about her that appealed to you?
DB: I knew her work, and I had met her over the years and found her to be a nice person, someone who would be patient with me. She has an amazing aesthetic, with great clarity of line and proportion. I really liked her work at Corton in Tribeca, which had the same calmness I wanted for my home. It turned out to be a very good collaboration.
The triple stainless-steel sink is by , the fittings are
by , and the knives are by Mac and Wüsthof.
ED: What convinced you to choose Dada systems for your cabinet and drawer storage?
DB: I was exploring several options, but when I went to their showroom, I very much liked what I saw. It's a clean system, and it comes with incredible options for storage, like the pullout storage shelves for the corner cabinet. They were great to work with and even finished early.
ED: And the appliances?
DB: Well, it's German engineering. They're just great. No matter where you go in Europe, any small gastronomic kitchen in France or in Scandinavia, that's what you find: a Gaggenau steam oven and multipurpose oven or two. They're the top of the game, and great when you want to save space.
An trivet on the plancha, next to a gas range, and fitted drawers by Dada.
ED: What were your most important decisions?
DB: The cooking equipment and the arrangement of things. The grill and plancha (griddle) were important for diversity. Think shrimp or steak on the barbie versus seared scallops à la plancha. I have a steam oven and a gas oven, both of which have their merits. Induction is quick heating, although it takes some getting used to, and it's easy to clean. And though gas is old school, we enjoy having both options.
ED: But you don't have a microwave?
DB: Well, I don't really need one. I reheat things or keep them warm in the oven. I also have two warming drawers that I use to heat plates. I make popcorn on the stovetop, au naturel.
The wet bar's fittings are by Dornbracht, the glasses are by Riedel, and the artwork is by Manolo Valdés.
ED: If you had to strip your kitchen down to the bones, what couldn't you live without?
DB: A multipurpose oven, good knives, a Vitamix blender, and an espresso machine.
ED: And along those same lines, what would you say is your favorite feature in your new kitchen?
DB: I love my triple-bowl sink, which is also part of the Dada line. It's a stainless steel sink that has cutting boards and drain boards fitted into it, and they slide back and forth on tracks. It's incredibly versatile. It's a perfect sink.
A Dada swivel shelf holds All-Clad cookware.
ED: Where did you get the idea for creating the hexagonal dining table?
DB: I just thought that a round top was boring. And six is really the ideal size. It keeps things simple and intimate. So I thought, why not? Stephanie Goto was very much part of the design. But in any case, the table has a larger round top that fits over the hexagon, so we can seat as many as 10, but a party any bigger than that stops being about an evening at home with friends.
The Gaggenau refrigerator.
ED: Speaking of friends, I see you have a Stephanie Odegard Himalayan wool rug in the dining room. You know her, too, don't you?
DB: Oh, yes. We've been friends for years. She has the best rugs. She's done the rugs for all my restaurants. It's a tradition.
ED: So do you enjoy using your new kitchen?
DB: I don't think I've even experienced all it has to offer yet. It's big enough for two of us to cook in at the same time, and I've even let a guest or two join us. I haven't thought of anything to change yet, so I guess that means I must like it the way it is. Perhaps I'll get a microwave. A small one.
The oven by Gaggenau comes with a warming drawer; the plates are by Bernardaud.
• Chef Boulud suggests installing shallow cabinets: "You can't reach things if they're hidden behind everything else." He recommends pullouts, lazy Susans, and specialized drawer fittings for optimum efficiency and organization.
• For countertops, Boulud selected Caesarstone, a product made from engineered quartz. It's good-looking and, just as important, nonabsorbent, unlike most stone. It's crucial to keep counters uncluttered, Boulud says. "Use them as workspace, not storage. Minimal is best."
• Boulud stashes away his countertop appliances when they are not in use. His recommended small appliances include a Vitamix blender, a KitchenAid mixer, and a Cuisinart or Robot Coupe food processor.
Stools are by