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 fish and an abundance of vegetables, as well as regional spices and seasonings. The Mid-Century Modern interior, including a spacious bar and lounge, is 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.
Hours of operation:
Sat & Sun 11:00AM-3:00PM
BAR & LOUNGE
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 It was clear his interest in the kitchen far superseded others’ his age—while his four brothers and two sisters preferred to play outside, Travis preferred to help his father, an entrepreneur by profession and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.
Anna McGorman began working in professional kitchens in her hometown of Philadelphia; she spent three years at the James Beard-nominated Fork restaurant before earning her Bachelor degree from the Culinary Institute of America, with honors in Baking and Pastry Arts Management. During her studies she spent time in London where she spent time at the Michelin-starred and only female-run Gordon Ramsay restaurant, Angela Hartnett at the Connaught. In 2008 she joined the pastry team at Chef Daniel Boulud’s flagship restaurant DANIEL, under the leadership of Dominique Ansel. At DANIEL Anna rose in the pastry kitchen ranks, from cook to sous chef, and developed the high-level skills found only in a fine dining restaurant. When Ansel opened his namesake bakery in 2011 he recruited Anna as his Executive Sous Chef. Eager to further develop her pastry acumen, she worked at DA Bakery for three years and was responsible for creating seasonal pastries and viennoieseries, overseeing production, acting as food stylist for media opportunities, and managing staff. During this time (‘BC’ = before cronut, ‘AC’ = after cronut), sales and production quadrupled, and the bakery won countless accolades including Zagat’s ‘Best Bakery in NYC.’
In December 2014 Anna rejoined Daniel Boulud’s group of restaurants as Executive Pastry Chef at db Bistro Moderne, and in 2015 she moved to Boulud’s Upper West Side restaurants, where she oversees the pastry programs of both Boulud Sud and Bar Boulud.
With an academic background in poetry and philosophy, Amanda Smeltz is far from your average sommelier. Working in restaurants was merely a way to support her undergraduate studies, until she crossed paths with a wine buyer who hailed from the opening team at Gramercy Tavern. Noting Amanda’s curiosity for wine, he took her under his wing—and eventually persuaded her to pursue a career in the New York City wine scene.
While simultaneously earning her MFA in Creative Writing at the New School, Smeltz opened the Breslin and the John Dory under Wine Director Carla Rsezseskwi. She stayed with the April Bloomfield restaurant group until 2012, when she was offered unusual opportunity—and challenge—of convincing Bushwick beer drinkers to pair wine with their pizza.
Over the next four years, as the Wine Director of Roberta’s and Blanca, Smeltz was at the center of the emerging Brooklyn food movement. The restaurants’ rule-breaking influence on the rest of the New York City—and national—food scene sparked the questions that would fuel Smeltz’s style as a sommelier. Most notably, how to defy the notion that wine be solely associated with luxury and expenditure.
Smeltz notes, “At Roberta’s, they told me I would never make it into a wine restaurant, and by the end of my time there, the program was bringing in one million dollars annually. That, in a nutshell, is what I want to do with wine—prove that it fits in anywhere: at the table, your backyard…it’s a beverage that is suited to all situations and contexts. Peasants have been drinking it for as long as royals have! It shape shifts from culture to culture.” The media took notice, with Eric Asimov including Smeltz’s wine list at Roberta’s among his 2012 “10 Most Surprising Wine Lists in NYC” for the New York Times.
Of course, working at an edgy, young restaurant provides a wide open playing field in which to experiment. Translating that vision to fine dining is another challenge entirely. In choosing to oversee the wine program at Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, Smeltz is facing down what she calls “the dichotomy between fine dining and hip restaurants.” She adds, “There are false camps in food and drink, and many people think they want to be in one camp or another, versus having one foot in both. I want there to be less of a rigid divide between what makes things ‘fancy’ or ‘fine,’ and what makes things vivid.”
As the new Head Sommelier for Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, Smeltz seeks to honor the work of her predecessor, Mike Madrigale and his cellar. That means continuing a program of exceptional Burgundies and the nightly “Bar Boulud Big Bottle” program, but also championing regions that are lesser known. Specifically at Boulud Sud, whose influences span the Mediterranean, Smeltz looks forward to championing regions that American wine culture hasn’t acclimated to—like Greek wines. “My goal is to continue to have a reason for collectors to come by, but also to welcome guests who want to explore,” says Smeltz. “To keep that duality alive and well, to provide a diversity of experience—that’s what enticed me to take over this cellar.”