Boulud Sud is Chef Daniel Boulud’s vibrant Mediterranean-inspired restaurant featuring flavors that travel the entire Mediterranean region from the shores of Southern France to the coast of North Africa and beyond. There is an emphasis on grilled fish and lamb as well as an abundance of fresh vegetables on menu sections entitled “De La Mer”, “Du Jardin” and “De La Ferme”. The Mid-Century Modern interiors, including a spacious bar and lounge, are decorated in tones of sunflower yellow and slate grey. The light filled space is framed by floor to ceiling windows, vaulted ceilings, pear wood paneling and terrazzo floors, as well as works by famed artist Vik Muniz. The restaurant, with an entrance on West 64th Street, is just steps from Manhattan’s Lincoln Center and is adjacent to Bar Boulud and Épicerie Boulud.
TRAVIS SWIKARD, Executive Chef
Travis Swikard can remember the exact moment he knew he would be a chef—he was four-years-old and his father deglazed a pan with cognac, flames erupted into the air, and “It was like magic,” says Swikard. In fact, he can remember every culinary experience he’s ever had with photographic precision: the first time he had duck at eight-years-old while out to dinner with his great grandparents; waking up on the beach in Mexico during a family surfing trip and paddling into the ocean to catch fresh lobster to cook with scrambled eggs for breakfast; unwrapping presents on Christmas morning and discovering the cookbooks of Chef Daniel Boulud. It was clear his interest in the kitchen far superseded others’ his age—while his four brothers and two sisters preferred to play outside, Travis preferred to help his father, an entrepreneur by profession and passionate cook by hobby, prepare dinner for the family. “For me, cooking has always been about making family and friends happy. Creating a reason to gather around the table. That foundation has always kept me grounded, and continues to push me to be the best chef I can be.” Knowing ‘Chef’ was in his DNA, he wasted no time getting to work and building his culinary caliber.
At age 15 and still in school, Travis took his first food job, running a sushi bar inside a San Diego grocery store. He treated the business as his own and quickly learned the dedication needed to succeed. He arrived to the store at 6am every morning before school to cook rice, cut fish, fill the display and set up for the day. He returned immediately after school at 3:30pm and worked until the store closed at 9pm. During high school career week he had to shadow a professional of interest and approached one of the top chefs in San Diego, Deborah Scott, who agreed to take him on. A one week stage turned into a four year job and his first high-end, service-oriented restaurant experience. At Island Prime Travis met other young chefs and became entrenched in the chef community and culture. A fellow young chef had recently come to town, 24-year-old Gavin Kaysen, to be Executive Chef of San Diego’s El Bizcocho. Travis sought him out and the two met at a culinary competition hosted by Alton Brown at the local mall in which Kaysen was competing. At the time neither knew they would eventually be peers, both as Executive Chefs at Chef Daniel Boulud’s lauded New York City restaurants.
Ready to experience cuisine outside of San Diego, Travis enrolled in the New England Culinary Institute (NECI). There he not only learned French technique, how to raise pigs and slaughter chickens, how to work on a farm and respect the integrity of ingredients, but also the importance of establishing systems in a kitchen and how to manage a team. Upon completing NECI’s culinary arts program Travis headed to England to join the team at Chef Phil Thompson’s renowned Auberge du Lac. The six month stint was an invaluable experience which shaped him as a chef and person. “Being around Chef Phil Thompson showed me the type of chef I wanted to be. I respected his skill and his sensibility. The key to being a great chef is being a great leader, and at Auberge that light bulb went off.” Travis was laser focused and intent on taking away as much as possible, pushing himself harder than ever before. In fact one day Chef Thompson felt he was too focused, and reminded Travis that, “you’re a person, cooking for people”—those simple yet powerful words are ones that he now lives by and reminds his team of that every day.
In 2008 Travis returned to the States and was serendipitously contacted by Gavin Kaysen, who had moved from San Diego to New York City to run Chef Daniel Boulud’s upscale Café Boulud. Kaysen was building his team and solicited Travis to be a part of it. Having regarded Boulud as a culinary icon since childhood, he immediately headed to NYC to stage and got the job (also serendipitous, that same night while out celebrating he met his wife, Mia). The kitchen at Café was filled with talent and Travis thrived, working his way up the line from Garde Manger, Chef de Partie, to Tournant
In 2011, when Chef Boulud announced a new project, a contemporary Mediterranean restaurant that would open across from Lincoln Center, Travis was hand-picked to be Executive Sous Chef. Before the kitchen was constructed and the bar was built, Travis, with Executive Chef Aaron Chambers, researched dishes and flavors, tested recipes after restaurant hours in the kitchen at DANIEL, and met with Boulud to turn his vision into a reality.
In November 2013 Travis’ childhood aspiration became a reality as he was named Executive Chef of Boulud Sud. Travis draws on his diverse culinary background to create dishes inspired by the vibrant region, executed with technique, and driven by ingredients. “Boulud Sud is about elegant and inspired Mediterranean cuisine. It’s about taste, texture, and aroma first and foremost, but also about fun.” As Executive Chef he plans to pay it forward, mentoring and molding young chefs the way many did for him, and continuing to feed friends and family, the reason he’s always cooked.
MICHAEL MADRIGALE, Head Sommelier
Michael Madrigale hails from a Philadelphia area family whose five butcher shops and shared love of eating well left their mark. His food-centric Italian-American upbringing clearly prepared him for a life in restaurants.
Madrigale, now Head Sommelier at Bar Boulud, headed to New York City after graduating from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. He initially waited tables while looking for a job that would start him on his career path. At the time, he found himself gravitating toward the wine cellar, eager to learn more about the vintages he was pouring. After work I would read books on the topic and taste everything I could – I made the decision then to immerse myself in the world of wine full time.”
He landed a coveted position as a consultant selling prized vintages to passionate private collectors through the Burgundy Wine Company. There he met a winemaker from Domained’ Arlot who offered Madrigale the opportunity to work on the 2002 Nuits St. Georges harvest in Burgundy. The experience was a turning point that helped sharpen his focus on wine and vinification. This was extremely important for me,” says Madrigale. “I needed to touch the grapes and be with the winemaker — in Burgundy I didn’t break open the books to learn, I went right to the soil.” During his time at Domained’ Arlot, he met Daniel Johnnes, Wine Director for the Dinex Group (the restaurants of Chef Daniel Boulud), Their vineyard side conversations on wine and pairings were a precursor of things to come for Madrigale.
Upon returning to the US as somewhat of a Burgundy expert, Michael Madrigale accepted positions with Michael Skurnik Wines, Clicquot, Inc., and later Henriot Inc., gaining experience in various sales and management positions. But when the terroir called out to him, once again, Madrigale returned to France where he joined Butterfield & Robinson in Beaune to lead wine tours throughout the region.
Michael joined Chef Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group in 2007 as Chef Sommelier at db Bistro Moderne and later moved on to the group’s more wine-centric Bar Boulud to manage a cellar of over 500 selections, dedicated largely to the Rhône Valley and Burgundy. Here he attracted renown and a considerable following among connoisseurs for launching New York City’s first “Big Bottles” program, offering guests privileged access to rare and large format bottles poured by the glass. Today Madrigale oversees the wine programs for Bar Boulud, the new Boulud Sud and Épicerie Boulud. “Being in this business validates the way I grew up,” says Madrigale, “knowing that real happiness comes from eating and drinking with people you love.”
Recently, FOOD & WINE named Michael to their “Top Sommeliers of 2012” list.
TYLER ATWELL, Executive Pastry Chef
When Tyler Atwell was growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he enjoyed cooking alongside his parents and grandparents whenever he had the chance. He was always drawn toward sweets, whether it was cookies, cakes or anything in between, but never entertained cooking as a career, until a decade later when we graduated college with a degree in Aviation. He appreciated the detail-orientation needed to fly a plane, and the fact that it was an exact science, but always knew that in aviation his creativity was dormant. In contemplating where his passion could really be expressed, he decided to transition from pilot to pastry chef, and landed at the French Culinary Institute to embark on a new journey.
Once in New York, Tyler made his way into one of the city’s top kitchens to learn from one of the industry’s most skilled pastry chefs, starting with the three Michelin star Jean-Georges in 2009. There he honed his ability to balance flavors, and that sweetness need not always prevail in dessert. Soon after Chef-Restaurateur Michael White opened Marea, Tyler joined as Chocolatier to develop his craft. He found himself in a largely autonomous position, being solely responsible for the restaurant’s bon bons, and took the chance to experiment with chocolate techniques and ganache flavors (cherry-almond, crispy malt, yuzu). Next, Tyler rounded out his pastry experience at the Mandarin Oriental New York. As pastry sous chef at the Mandarin, Tyler managed a team of ten pastry cooks, overseeing dessert menu development for Asiate Restaurant as well as production for the Hotel—a role that would perfectly position him for what would come next.
In June 2013 Tyler joined Chef Daniel Boulud’s group of restaurants as Executive Pastry Chef at Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud. He brings his classic pastry training to both restaurants, showcasing traditional French desserts and techniques at the rustic bistro, Bar Boulud, and his affinity for ‘surprising, yet extremely appealing’ flavor combinations at the eclectic and Mediterranean, Boulud Sud. His method of creating a new dessert can be likened to an artist preparing their palate: he starts with a single base flavor, and continues to layer colors, flavors and textures until the finished product is a complex, yet cohesive, work of art.