The root of Boulud's success can be traced back many years when Boulud scored an apprenticeship at one of the best restaurants in Lyon. He worked for nearly 12 hours a day, six days a week. Despite the grueling schedule, he enjoyed the cooking, and learning the restaurant trade from the ground up.
Boulud has maintained the same drive and passion for cooking all these years later. He says one of his biggest frustrations is not being able to spend enough time in the kitchen: He averages six hours instead of his ideal, 14.
Now that he's in a position to train the next generation of chefs, Boulud says those "who work as hard as I work" continue to inspire him with the same passion he felt back when he was an apprentice.
Over the course of his impressive career, Boulud has maintained a complicated relationship with food. He says it's what drives his creativity, but he says it can also "drive me crazy."
"It makes me very happy and sometimes very frustrated. Why? Because, you know, we are living the extreme with it. We are living the extreme of making perfection out of just ingredients and also living the extreme of having the consistency everyday with it. Day-in, day-out, we've got to be perfect at it … the seasoning and all that," he explained. "And also having the importance of finding the best ingredient to do that food, but at the same time it brings you the most joy to be able to create a new dish, to perfect that dish all the time, or just to make it perfect every time as well."