Café Boulud – Palm Beach
Guest Blogger: Bill Couzens, Founder of LessCancer.org
Café Boulud – Palm Beach opened its doors in 2003. Its location in the historic Brazilian Court, a 1920’s Spanish styled Palm Beach landmark turned luxury boutique hotel, is in the heart of Palm Beach and moments away from the famed Worth Avenue. Café Boulud’s cuisine is not unlike its New York City sister restaurant Café Boulud NEW YORK where classic French dishes are prepared with ingredients sourced from the seasonal specialties available at local markets.
Chef-Owner Daniel Boulud is a seasoned restaurateur with five restaurants; one in New York City, one in Palm Beach, FL and three abroad with plans to open additional locations in Miami, London and Singapore in the coming year. Chef Boulud is also an accomplished author having published several books, including Cooking with Daniel Boulud (1993), Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud Cookbook (1999), Daniel Boulud Cooking in New York City (2002),Daniel’s Dish, Entertaining at Home with a Four Star Chef (2003), Letters to a Young Chef (2003), Braise: a Journey Through International Cuisine (2006).
Boulud credits much the restaurants’ success to his world–class team. One such invaluable team member is Chef Zach Bell, Executive Chef of Cafe Boulud-Palm Beach, recognized by StarChefs in 2008 as a Rising Star Chef and twice nominated for “Best Chef: South” by the James Beard Foundation.
Chef Bell makes it a practice to visit local farms and markets to personally inspect the local foods the restaurant will be serving. Local vendors Chef Bell shops with include:
Deep Creek Ranch for beef and lamb as they do not use hormones or other growth stimulants or routine antibiotic treatment.
Wild Ocean Seafood Market providing some of freshest local seafood.
Green Cay Produce CSA in Palm Beach County and as well as Swank Produce for hydro-natural lettuces, greens, micro greens tomatoes, beans, baby beats and carrots. According to their website, Swank Produce does not use fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides. This is important re the unintended consequences of pesticides that can cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment.
The Erickson family manages the tropical fruit, spice and vegetable farm. Mangoes are their specialty and they are grown with the philosophy that includes alternative practices instead of the use of pesticides and herbicides by using the effective organic solutions available and implementing cultivation techniques that aid in pest and weed control when possible.
In addition to making every effort to shop local, organic ingredients, Chef Zach has a house rule of no corn syrup in any ingredient – including the ketchup – and so the restaurant no longer uses purchased ketchup but rather cooks its own from scratch.
Most notably Café Boulud has joined in the supporting The Glades to Coast Convivium, a chapter of the slow food movement that includes Broward and Southern Palm Beach Counties. Slow Food is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.
Palm Beach and the surrounding counties are mostly noted for the production of tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, cucumbers and squash–though it is often difficult for consumers to find local produce for sale in neighborhood supermarkets which rely on larger farms that ship produce nationwide. However, large increases in the population during the winter months coincide with the growing season, opening possibilities for local marketing of produce. Every Saturday the Palm Beach farmer’s market promotes locally-grown fresh fruits, just-picked vegetables, fresh seafood, meats and poultry, dairy products, specialty teas and coffees, fresh-cut local and imported flowers, specialty foods, foods to go, pies, and breads.
“Beyond the obvious benefits in freshness, quality, and flavor, eating seasonally and sourcing food locally can be make important contributions to reducing carbon emissions. The local farms that are additionally certified organic and the markets that sell organic foods also have great potential for reducing exposures to pesticides and other chemicals, benefiting both the environment and human health” according to Dr. Maryann Donovan, Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
Devotees of Daniel Boulud will not only find comfort in Cafe Boulud’s exquisite fare and quality but they will discover that standards for buying local, organic and eliminating corn syrup from the restaurant is one best practice in working towards healthy people and healthy communities.