NEW YORK — David Bouley’s latest venture, Bouley Bakery and Market, is literally keeping him awake at night.
“I woke up at 6:30 because I dreamed one of the flower pots fell from the ledge and hit a woman with a baby carriage. See,” he says, pointing to the pots resting on the sill of the two-story building, “they’re bolted now. So you can see I’m a little crazy today.”
Indeed, Bouley has been working at a frenzied pace. He designed and oversaw construction on the bustling trilevel space located at the corner of West Broadway and Duane Street, just across from his restaurants, Bouley and Danube. Though Bouley Bakery and Market officially opened Monday, undeterred locals were buying pastries and coffee amid workers heaving buckets and arranging tables last week.
A key to Bouley’s latest undertaking is the word “market.” While the space will offer the chef’s signature breads and desserts, it also will carry farm-raised meats, organic produce, fish from the day boats of Cape Cod and nearly 250 different varieties of cheese from Murray’s Cheese. With the new project, Bouley hopes to educate consumers about food and give smaller farmers, who may only have one good week of white peaches a year and, as such, don’t sell to green markets or grocers here, a retail outlet. His promotional efforts go as far as running footage of the farmers on a video screen in the street-level bakery. “Farmers all have a story,” he explains. “This gives them the ability to talk about their product.”
At Upstairs, the cafe on the second floor, Bouley will serve a melange of casual fare, from roast chicken to sashimi. For the last five years, Bouley has been studying Japanese cuisine and has brought in a graduate of Tsuji Cooking School — the school he attended in Japan — to man the sushi station for the summer.
He’s also inviting culinary-minded friends to teach cooking classes at the cafe. Courses on fish techniques, weekend brunches and desserts and fine pastries begin in June for $150 a person (dinner at Bouley or Danube is included). “I’m getting a lady from Lucca to come in and teach how to make risotto,” Bouley says. “And then you go home and become emotional with your risotto.”
This story first appeared in the May 24, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
But when it comes to self-promotion, Bouley falls short of some of his publicity-starved colleagues. Unlike scores of other famed New York City chefs, he doesn’t have a television show and has written only one cookbook.
“I don’t want to be so much about entertainment. I want to be about the people growing food,” he says. “This whole idea of going, ‘Bam!’ I mean, [Emeril Lagasse] is a friend and I think the [celebrity chefs] are great at what they’re doing, but I don’t think I fit … The audience I’d like to find would be curious about products and where they come from.”