Back in 2015, Café Boulud underwent a change that would launch the restaurant into success. And while a new look and feel surely helped, much of the success can be attributed to the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine.
Allow us to introduce you to Chef Sylvain Assié of Café Boulud
With over two decades of experience in the industry, Chef Sylvain certainly knows his way around the kitchen. He professionally trained at Culinary School in Montpellier, France, leading him to work at a number of notable hotels like Le Martinez, Ritz-Carlton, and Le Byblos; and establishments like Michelin starred restaurant Le Mas Candille in Mougins and La Coupole in Monaco, before finding his home at the Four Seasons.
Today, while Chef Sylvain is no stranger to fine dining, the cuisine he produces at Café Boulud is more approachable. It’s French comfort food that will have you salivating for days. We had the opportunity to speak with him about what inspired him to become a chef, his three favourite restaurants, and his go-to at-home meal. Take a look at our interview below.
How did you get your start in the industry?
After attending my uncle’s birthday party, I thought about getting into catering. I ended up doing an orientation with the catering company that executed and prepared the food for my uncle’s birthday. From there I decided to pursue a career in the culinary field and started training.
How would you describe your culinary style?
Classic French with more of a focus on the South of France. I like cooking with olive oil versus butter. I like to highlight the ingredients in a dish and preserve the flavour rather than using a lot of seasoning or spices.
What’s your favourite dish on your current menu and why?
Souris D’Agneau – Braised Lamb Shank with flageolet beans and tomato ragout, and Yellowfoot mushrooms. It reminds me of the dish my mother made for our family growing up.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about the restaurant industry?
That the job is easy and that a cook can be a Chef in one year. I think a lot of this misconception comes from many reality TV cooking shows. The job is hard work and there is a lot of repetition to make sure the elements and dishes are perfect.
What’s your go-to meal to cook at home?
A good piece of meat on the BBQ.
What are three restaurants our readers need to try before they die?
- L’Auberge du pont Collonges by Paul Bocuse (Lyon)
- Arpege by Alain Passard (Paris)
- Le Cinq at the Four Seasons George V (Paris)
What’s one tip our readers should know to up their own game in their kitchens?
Use seasonality in your ingredients when cooking. You will get the best produce when it’s in season.
How do you think Toronto (and/or Canada’s) culinary scene will evolve in the future?
In Toronto, we get better and better each year. Several local talents have worked in some well-established kitchens internationally and have come back to tell their story and emulate what they have learned. A great example of this would be Chef Patrick Kriss of Alo, who worked with Daniel Boulud at Daniel in New York, then to France to work at Regis Marcon and La Maison Troisgros, before returning to Toronto.
Are there any other chefs or restaurants you’d like to see profiled? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.