Café Boulud is Chef Daniel Boulud’s newly renovated French Brasserie located in the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville, Toronto. The restaurant serves a seasonally changing menu rooted in French tradition, highlighting both bistro classics and contemporary dishes inspired by Chef Daniel’s family meals in Lyon.
A gleaming rotisserie is used to slow-roast chicken à la broche, loin of lamb and even rum scented pineapple. The restaurant is open for dinner seven nights, lunch Monday through Saturday, brunch on Sundays and breakfast daily. A number of seats are also reserved for walk-ins every night.
We are proud to unveil our new dining room as envisioned by London-based designer Martin Brudnizki. The vintage-inspired ambiance is highlighted by a comfortable lounge and wraparound banquettes, a dining bar counter, and a semi-private room that accommodates up to eight guests.
Experience d|bar, our spirited lounge on the ground floor serving an array of classic and creative cocktails, and a diverse menu of complete meals and small plates. A DJ spins tunes every night except Sunday from 9:00PM until close.
Daniel Boulud is Chef-Owner of several award-winning restaurants and the Feast & Fêtes catering company. While he hails from Lyon, France, it is in New York that he has truly mastered the dining scene and is today considered one of America’s leading culinary authorities. Raised on his family’s farm in the village of Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, the chef remains inspired by the rhythm of the seasons and menus driven by fine ingredients. Since arriving in the US in 1982, Boulud has become renowned for the contemporary appeal he adds to soulful cooking rooted in French tradition.
Daniel Boulud’s New York City restaurants include his flagship DANIEL (1993), a Michelin starred Relais & Châteaux member; the elegant one Michelin star Café Boulud (1998) with its adjacent cocktail bar, Bar Pleiades; his contemporary Parisian bistro, db bistro moderne (2001); two Upper West Siderestaurant including the charcuterie-centric Bar Boulud (2008) and the Mediterranean themed Boulud Sud (2011). DBGB Kitchen and Bar (2009), situated downtown on the corner of Bowery and Houston, is chef’s relaxed restaurant where the French brasserie meets the American Tavern. Épicerie Boulud (2011), with locations across from Lincoln Center and within The Plaza Food Halls, is an eat-in and take-out market and café, with exquisite homemade and gourmet items from around the world.
Beyond Manhattan the chef has created Café Boulud in Palm Beach (2003) and db bistro moderne in downtown Miami, Florida (2010). Boulud has extended his culinary reach internationally with db bistro moderne at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands (2010), Bar Boulud London (2010) at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Café Boulud at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto (2012), and Maison Boulud at the Ritz-Carlton Montréal (2012). In spring 2014 the Chef returned to Las Vegas and opened db Brasserie in partnership with The Venetian® Las Vegas. Additionally, in September 2014 he opened a second DBGB at downtown Washington D.C.’s CityCenterDC, and Bar Boulud at Boston’s Mandarin Oriental.
Boulud’s culinary accolades include James Beard Foundation awards for “Outstanding Restaurant,” “Outstanding Restaurateur,” “Best Chef, New York City” and “Outstanding Chef of the Year.” He has been named “Chef of the Year” by the Culinary Institute of America and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government. Restaurant DANIEL has been cited as “one of the ten best restaurants in the world” by the International Herald Tribune, has earned multiple Michelin stars and Wine Spectator’s “Grand Award”. In 2015 the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awarded Boulud its Lifetime Achievement Award for his success as a restaurateur, businessman, and ‘chef who is revered as one of the world’s finest.’ Boulud’s culinary style is reflected in nine cookbooks, including the definitive DANIEL: My French Cuisine (Grand Central Publishing, 2013) and his most recent My Best: Daniel Boulud(Ducasse Books, 2014).
There is a lot of collaboration in the kitchen and on the menu of Café Boulud and d|bar at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. Sylvain Assié wouldn’t have it any other way. “I try for maximum communication to involve my team,” says Assié, who became Chef de Cuisine of the Hotel’s signature restaurant and lounge, which collectively showcase the talents of chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud, in spring 2015. “I am not the kind of chef that says, ‘we’re putting this on the menu and that’s it.’ We have a lot of young talent in the crew and everyone has a role to play. I challenge them to be the best they can possibly be.”
Assié believes he was tapped to lead the dining spots for his own talent with the authentic French cuisine he has known intimately since taking his first bites in Avignon, France. He grew up in a small village with his family near Montpellier. “They love food and love to cook. I remember the smell in my grandmother’s kitchen for the Sunday family lunch with everyone around the table sharing roasted lamb leg, stuff squids, an aligot or a fantastic bouillabaisse and many other delights.”
Every family in the village had a garden with fruit in the trees and vegetables in the ground. “We were always doing something with what we got from nature,” he says, recalling picking wild asparagus and mushrooms, cooking every day, and learning techniques of the art of preparation – in particular canning for the off-season. “It was just that kind of place – very simple and authentic.”
After getting his start with Four Seasons in the south of France, Assié skipped across a couple of oceans to Bora Bora and then landed in Toronto as a Sous Chef in 2010, two years before the opening of the company’s new address and Café Boulud and d│bar within. His expertise has been tapped across the restaurant and bar over the years, for monitoring inventory, managing staff, and fashioning new dishes in concert with Chef Daniel Boulud.
Assié honed his technique while climbing the culinary ladder in France, where he worked in two 1-Michelin-Star kitchens before joining Four Seasons, and a 2-Michelin-Starred kitchen afterwards. Harkening back to his youth gone by, he developed a “love of fresh produce” and met regularly with French suppliers to pick the best seasonal ingredients. That passion continues in Toronto: “I really like the small farms and suppliers we work with here,” he says, crediting a colleague for plugging him into the region’s best farms.
Just 36 when he was appointed Chef de Cuisine in Toronto, Assié has the “same dream of every chef,” to one day own a restaurant of his own. His sights are unique, though: “I am still young so I need to learn a lot. Not a restaurant. Something like a farm cottage with food and hospitality. It’ll be a return to the roots.”
Meantime, he takes pleasure in planting seeds of appreciation for what the earth provides with his wife and daughter close to home in Toronto. “We love to pick strawberries and apples at a small farm outside the city when I have the time. It is very important for us to show our daughter the source of the good stuff.”
Working in restaurants since the age of 15, Jeremy Geyer’s career spans two and half decades. Starting at Scaramouche as a server assistant then on to Susur as Maitre d’ before taking the role of Sommelier at Centro Restaurant, Geyer has worked with some of Toronto’s greatest chefs. Having spent time alongside Marc Thuet, Michael Bonancini, David Lee, Chris McDonald, Keith Froggett and Daniel Boulud, he adds a wealth of experience to the team at Café Boulud. He always remains keenly aware of the industry and continuously integrates the classic, age-old foundation of Café Boulud’s brasserie-style with modern service and products.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Jeremy grew up in Toronto’s Beaches area where he attended Balmy Beach Community School. He is a passionate hockey player, avid golfer, and has a deep passion for cooking with an intense focus on ingredients and simplicity. As a graduate of the International Sommelier Guild Diploma Program, Geyer credits his fathers’ passion for wine as his catalyst into the restaurant industry.
Appointed in early 2018 to oversee the 350-label wine program for Café Boulud and d│bar, as well as for catering and in-room dining, Snider arrived with diverse experience and a personal passion for wines from lesser-known regions. Among his first additions to the list was a Vinho de mesa from Azores Wine Company in Pico, one of the Azores islands of Portugal with a unique 2,400-acre viticulture area that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As much as he likes bringing in his favorites, Snider says he also wants to “stay true to what makes the wine program here so unique.” He notes, in particular, Café Boulud’s “strong core” of French wines from classic appellations as well as from lesser-known producers, and “sprinklings” from renowned wine regions in Italy, Australia, Spain and the American West.
Then there are the wines of Canada. Snider endeavors to maintain a good representation of local offerings, particularly from producers in Ontario who are close to the Toronto sommelier community, such as Norman Hardie Winery in Wellington and Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station. The Canadian wine scene is “always evolving,” he says. “Our climate is cool, but we do chardonnay and pinot noir quite well these days. It’s good for us to offer something local to show tourists what Canada has got.”
Assuming responsibility for a wine list has challenges all its own. “Wine is so personal and intangible – it’s almost like I’m walking through my predecessor’s brain.” Along with putting his own spin on the list, Snider is actively involved in employee education and training, holding regular wine tastings with restaurant staff and working closely with the kitchen to create food-and-wine pairings. “That’s the artistic side,” he says, noting pairings he has put together for charcuterie promotions and visiting chef dinners.
Snider also has input on the cocktail side of the menu, fashioning a “spritz menu,” for instance, with low-alcohol concoctions for guests who love cocktails but don’t necessarily want to get hammered by a drink. “The pendulum seems to have swung,” he says with a laugh. “Three fingers of bourbon is a bit much for a lot of people these days. Same with beer: They’re looking for lighter options.”
Snider found his calling early. Growing up in Newfoundland as the son of a preeminent fiddle player and a chef, he worked at his mother’s restaurants and went on to study the culinary arts with an eye toward leading his own kitchen. Yet after five years of day shifts as sous-chef in fine-dining restaurants in Toronto, he started getting bored after work and found a job bussing tables “just to make my evenings more interesting.”
It didn’t take long for Snider to figure out that the front of the house was where he belonged. Once he became a server and began moving wine, everything clicked: “I loved the intensity of it – dressing up, meeting people, talking about food, handling the bottles, nailing it every night. I was really comfortable on the floor.”
The more Snider discovered about wine, the more he wanted to learn. Rather than merely tour and taste, he decided to get his hands dirty working at wineries. He started at a boutique winery in Marlborough on the South Island of New Zealand. “I had no experience, but I told them I was a hard worker, so they hired me. I spent 16 hour days working in every facet of the wine making process as it was such a small team, just myself and 3 winemakers. I even mixed and added a liqeur de Tirage for their signature sparkling wine. ”
Next stop was London, where he took a job in a restaurant in the West End to save money to explore wine regions of France. Once there, he landed a month-long gig at a tiny, family-owned winery in Chinon in the Loire Valley. “I spent two weeks picking grapes and two weeks working in the winery. Everybody spoke FrenchIt was amazing and very cool to learn about the differences and nuances between new world and old world winemaking.” After returning to London to rebuild his bank account, he headed to back to the South Pacific for a turn as a “cellar rat” at the largest winery in Western Australia.
The collective experiences gave him a great foundation and great stories to build his career, he says. “I learned a lot about the business and came away confident that I knew how wine is made because I’d done it.”
Now right at home in Toronto and with Four Seasons, Snider likes to spend his off hours jamming with musician friends; hanging out and entertaining with young son and his wife, whom he met in sommelier school; playing golf when he gets the chance; and thinking about further evolving the hotel wine program. “I want to keep it exciting.”