David Bouley, Esteemed NYC Fine Dining Chef, Has Died At 70

As reported by AP News, The unexpected death of acclaimed New York City chef David Bouley has the food world reminiscing and paying tribute to the award-winning chef, author, and restaurateur. Bouley died February 12 at his Connecticut home of a heart attack at the age of 70. A New York City icon for more than four decades, Bouley is often credited (along with other well-regarded chefs like Daniel Boulud) with ushering in a new era of fine dining in the late 1970s and early 1980s: the introduction of New American dining, a hybrid style that combines elements of farm-to-table culture with innovative techniques and unexpected ingredients.

Although Bouley thrived during the heyday of New American dining, he never let one style of cooking define him. Born in Storrs, Connecticut, Bouley cherished his French ancestral roots, ultimately gaining dual citizenship in the United States and France. Time spent at his grandparents' farm while he was growing up influenced his respect for using fresh ingredients to create food that was at once delicious, beautiful, and healthful. Following early-career stints at restaurants in the U.S., France, and Switzerland where he worked under the tutelage of such well-regarded chefs as Roger Vergé, Paul Bocuse, and Joel Robuchon, Bouley settled in New York City, where he led the kitchen at Tribeca's Montrachet for two years, earning a three-star review from The New York Times, before opening Bouley in 1987.

A storied career

"He was a genius rock star chef who inspired chefs all over the world with his creativity," Albert Trummer (cocktail artist and longtime owner of New York City's Apotheke) told The Daily Mail. Trummer credits Bouley with giving him his start in the hospitality business in the early 2000s when he was a bartender at Danube, Bouley's Vienna-inspired eatery.

According to The Daily Mail, Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer also paid tribute to Bouley, writing, "Serious respect must be paid. Topped [the] New York Restaurant world for years, bridging the era between the dynasty of French-owned dining rooms and refined American restaurants as we know them today." At the time of his death, Bouley was the proprietor of Bouley at Home, working on a book, and developing a line of home furnishings. He is survived by his wife, Nicole Bartelme, five siblings, and 14 nieces and nephews.