November 10, 2003 | Ask Gael
Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s Daniel Boulud!

        Now that Daniel Boulud is no longer content with a restaurant empire he can reach by bicycle, his Palm Beach stretch and commitment to Las Vegas have made fans anxious. (Never mind the catering, caviar-mongering, charity bashes, and book tours.) His newest, Daniel’s Dish, a collection of recipes from Elle Décor, arrives in the wake of Letters to a Young Chef, a slim but wonderfully intimate and practical text for budding Bouluds. So far, control freak that he is, the chef is juggling four-star demands with valor. On fall’s seasonal menu at Daniel—couturier-dressed riffs on the classics—is a soul-stirring alliance of diver scallop and matsutake mushroom, wearing a frizz of curly chicory, lovage, and chive, in a tangy aura of lemongrass and lemon. Is it raw? Actually, the layers are “cooked” in a fruity olive oil on a sizzling hot plate while wrapped in plastic—till the scallop slices are sashimi-warm and the mushroom softens. “We can only do it when the matsutake season rubs up against the scallop season,” Boulud explains. Next up: white truffles.

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