Daniel Boulud’s Friendship with Vik Muniz Inspires a Deeply Personal Portrait
The Michelin-starred chef is captured in chocolate by the Brazilian artist
I first met Brazilian artist Vik Muniz when I wanted to commission a work for Bar Boulud in New York that combined food and wine. He said he would do the artwork, but first we had to have a party. He invited David Byrne, Cindy Sherman, and several others to dinner at his Brooklyn studio, and I cooked. Vik said you can always tell how good a party was by the stains on the table. So after we ate, we went into his photo studio and poured the leftover red wine onto plain white napkins. He photographed his favorites, and 25 of those now hang in Bar Boulud.
At another dinner party, Vik wanted to take portraits of his guests, so he snapped one of me. He reproduced that picture in chocolate, then took a photo of it. I have it displayed in the entry hall of my New York apartment, which Stephanie Goto designed. My children pass it every day and play in front of it all the time. I love to explain to them, “Oh, this is Daddy! Daddy in chocolate.”—As told to Jill Sieracki
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2021 Spring issue in the section “In Focus.” Subscribe to the magazine.