Daniel Boulud Celebrates 25 Years of 'Daniel' by Cooking Vol-au-Vent for Stephen Colbert
Michelin-starred, James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud may be a household name now, but back in 1988, he was fresh enough on the scene to make the Food & Wine Best New Chefs list (along with fellow alum Thomas Keller). Five years later, he left his position as executive chef at Le Cirque and opened his namesake restaurant, Daniel, on E 65th Street and Park Avenue in New York City, the flagship of what would become a culinary empire. As Boulud celebrates the 25th anniversary of that opening, he stopped by known food lover Stephen Colbert's Late Show on Friday to whip up a proper anniversary dinner.
Boulud first introduced Colbert to the carcass of a rooster, which he had the host confirm was indeed not a hen by having him remove the bird's testicles. Of course, it wasn't just an exercise in crude humor. The "jewels," along with the cockscomb, were being highlighted by Boulud as delicacy ingredients in a rooster vol-au-vent.
Describing the dish as "a chicken pot pie fit for a king," the chef explains that the name means "fly in the wind," and puts all of the parts of the bird to use. The sauce is made from chicken bone stock, and also includes the heart, liver, breast, and aforementioned other bits, along with morel mushrooms, crayfish, peas, and radishes. It's all served surrounded by a puff pastry crown. He says it's the kind of dish he'd make for friends and family, typically of French countryside fare.
But don't let rustic dish's elegant plating fool you. Boulud knows he's on a late night show and brings the blue jokes to the table.
"Did you taste my testicle?" he asks, coyly.
"What if I have a nut allergy?" Colbert replies.
As Boulud reflects on the success of Daniel, he also pops open a bottle of (appropriately) 1993 Château Mouton Rothschild to toast his success. For dessert, he's prepared a baked Alaska, which he tasks Colbert with browning using a blowtorch, before serving it up and crowning the host "King Colbert" with puff pastry headgear. As with most cooking segments on talk shows, you don't learn all that much about how to make the dish. But hey, if we learned all of Daniel Boulud's secrets, we'd have no reason to keep eating his delicious food!