Almost always I would describe David Bouley as an “outside the box” thinker but now he has truly gone so far outside that he is inside the box! What am I talking about? Well, his new restaurant/studio location, Bouley Botanical in TriBeCa once again breaks the mold on how you perceive the concept restaurant. It is a white rectangle room inside a giant garden box. The floor to ceiling windows are full of copper growing boxes!
David is constantly challenging himself to think about food. He was the first chef in New York to put the provenance of ingredients on his menu. No one will forget his coining the phrase “day boat” cod, lobster, scallops. His home state of Connecticut and French grandparent’s gardens gave him a cornucopia of delicious, natural and fresh ingredients He spent many hours with the farmers and fishermen. He figured out how to get their products to New York City. Now he has gone one step further. He has brought the farm to NYC. He has built his kitchen to be a lab, and his basement a commissary. He also found Renee Giroux.
Renee Giroux is the talented farmer of Gilbertie’s, a three-acre covered farm in Easton, Connecticut. Her thing is soil. Her soils are alive with all the beneficial insects, nematodes and other nutritious elements that make a delicious leaf. Her understanding is more than biodynamic, it is holistic and is pushing the envelope on natural growing techniques. She and David are creating a container farm lab at Botanical. The air itself in the space is a gift to your lungs. You sense the well being the minute you walk in.
When you think of growing vegetables or greens it is easy to think of soil elements and water. But have you thought of wind? The constant breezes in nature play their part in building the muscle of strong stems. Thus, while you dine at Botanical, at regular intervals a breeze comes out of nowhere! It brushes your cheek like a little pick me up. The various boxes surrounding you are doing their happy dance. Happy dance? Just think, if you have to give up your life to be an ingredient, wouldn’t you want it to be for the genius of David Bouley?