Chef Daniel Boulud's Advice to Young Cooks

Executive Chef Daniel Boulud has a long list of accolades, including the James Beard Foundation Awards for "Outstanding Restaurant," "Outstanding Restauranteur," "Best Chef, New York City," and"Outstanding Chef of the Year." With four restaurants in New York, plus outposts in Palm Beach, Miami, Vancouver, Beijing and London, his culinary style reflects seasonal ingredients, prepared in the French tradition. Chef Boulud is the author of five cookbooks and "Letters to a Young Chef."

One piece of advice I offer young cooks is to choose your mentors wisely. It's probably because mine were so influential in my life. From the start, I worked for the best chefs who would hire me and then gave them my all. In each case, they repaid me by in turn introducing me to yet another great mentor.

As a young chef, I had the privilege of working for the top talents of the day. Georges Blanc in Vonnas, Michel Guérard at Les Prés d'Eugènie and then Roger Vergé at the Moulin de Mougins in the south of France. They had incredible palates and technique. Their cooking reflected their regional roots, applied with respect for tradition but also with modernity. They were more than chefs; they were restaurateurs who attended to every detail of their guests' experience.