Why Every Culture Braises Meat, According To Daniel Boulud - Exclusive

Although Daniel Boulud was born and trained in France, he doesn't only cook French food. He would be the first to tell you that even his French-influenced restaurants pull from many other influences. As he told Tasting Table in an exclusive interview discussing the 30th anniversary of his namesake restaurant, "DANIEL was born in New York. It's a New York restaurant, but by definition has French DNA."

Boulud's desire to work beyond the confines of traditional French cuisine has led him to open restaurants that feature food from around the world. He has an omakase sushi place (Joji), a Mediterranean restaurant (Boulud Sud), and a restaurant that features a revolving international menu (Cafe Boulud). His endless curiosity also pushed him to research and write a book about a cooking method that he told us is common to almost every culture: braising.

Boulud described his book "Braise" as "a journey around the world of braising" and told us that "every culture, every cuisine has a way of braising things." In his opinion, this is because braising is a good way to cook cheaper, more accessible cuts of meat that may not be suitable for quicker styles of cooking. "Braising sometimes requires a lesser cut. You don't need filet mignon to braise. You don't need sirloin. You braise with neck, you braise with shanks, you braise with ribs," he said.

Boulud's braising trip around the globe

No matter where you look on Earth, someone is cooking a tough piece of meat low and slow until it becomes succulent and tasty. Daniel Boulud knows this well from his studies: "When you look at Mexican cuisine, when you look at Indian cuisine, they always use affordable cuts and make delicious food out of it." And that just scratches the surface of all the cultures he covered in his book on the subject — "Braise" also includes recipes inspired by China, Russia, Thailand, Lebanon, Italy, Turkey, and of course, Boulud's native France.

The chef's French-inspired red wine-braised short ribs have been one of his signature dishes for decades. They were on the menu at DANIEL, a version was served at Café Boulud, and he even sells a kit to make them at home. The dish shows that although braising may have become popular because of its cost-effectiveness, this cooking method is just as much at home in the finest kitchens in the world as it is on the tables of humble farmers.