The rumor has quietly been swirling for a few months now, but an employee reached at Asana this morning confirmed that Daniel Boulud will be officially taking over the restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental in September. Meanwhile, Aaron Chambers, formerly of Café Boulud and Boulud Sud in New York, has already been on the scene as chef at Asana since December. That month, Eater NY reported that Chambers was moving "to another position in Boulud's empire," and a rep for the restaurant group said that he would be "spearheading a new project" in 2014." And just a few weeks before that, the Boulud Sud Facebook page shared a photo wishing Chambers luck in "his new life chapter in Boston."
The Boulud empire reaches several continents with restaurants in New York, London, Beijing, and beyond, but Daniel is perhaps the best-known. The New York City restaurant was a long-time member of the four-star club as far as New York Times reviews are concerned, but it was recently "demoted" to three stars by a July review from Pete Wells. It still holds the maximum Michelin stars, three.
Most recently the executive chef at Boulud Sud, Boulud's "Mediterranean-inspired" restaurant in New York's Upper West Side, Chambers was named a 2011 "Rising Star" by StarChefs.com thanks to dishes like octopus a la plancha (marcona almonds, arugula, and sherry vinaigrette) and cedar-grilled rouget (fennel, mushroom, shallots, fennel pollen, and piment d'espelette). He's a native of Yorkshire, England, and he was "already at the stove at eight years old, baking scones and pies by his mother's side," according to his StarChefs bio. After working at restaurants in Birmingham and Oxford, he moved on to Dubai, finally landing on this side of the ocean to work in DC and then New York.
Meanwhile, the former Mandarin Oriental executive chef, Rachel Klein, is involved in an intriguing venue set to open this spring — Liquid Art House, a 215-seat restaurant/art gallery in Back Bay. When she presented an early menu draft to the licensing board a few months back, a few hallmarks of her Asana repertoire made appearances, like lobster beignets and an upscale steak & eggs dish.
UPDATE: Boulud's Boston restaurant will be a Bar Boulud, which already has a New York City and a London location.
· Travis Swikard is the new executive chef at Boulud Sud [-ENY-]
· Aaron Chambers [StarChefs.com]
· All coverage of Asana on Eater [~EBOS~]