Chef Q & A: Café Boulud Palm Beach’s Executive Chef Rick Mace

Getting to Know the Chefs of The Palm Beaches: Café Boulud Palm Beach’s Executive Chef Rick Mace Slideshow

Executive Chef Rick Mace of Café Boulud Palm Beach Photo by P. Dash

Café Boulud Palm Beach, Photo by Noah Fecks

cafe boulud's fish dish

Café Boulud Palm Beach, Photo by Noah Fecks

Chef’s name: Rick Mace
Title: Executive Chef, Café Boulud Palm Beach
Hometown: Medina, OH
Favorite hidden gem in The Palm Beaches: John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
Favorite band/musician: Hank Williams III
Current restaurant/resort: Café Boulud
Brief description about restaurant: French fare in an historic boutique hotel setting
Hours of operation: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Address: 301 Australian Ave., Palm Beach at The Brazilian Court Hotel  

Tell us about yourself. How did you shape your culinary career, starting from your first job in the F&B industry to where you are now?

I became fond of cooking when I was younger. There are a lot of good cooks in my family. My first job in high school was at deli. From there, I moved to a restaurant, and then a catering company before culinary school. After school, I took a position at a resort in San Diego, and while there, I traveled to Las Vegas to visit friends who had been working at Daniel Boulud Brasserie in the Wynn Hotel.  That’s where I first met Chef Daniel.

Who was your greatest cooking influence?

I have to credit my Dad. When I was young, he returned from a Military assignment in Greece. When he came back he was so excited to share foods that he had experienced there in our home kitchen. His excitement was contagious.

What is your favorite ingredient to cook with?

Corn, because I grew up in a corn field. Sweet corn in the summer, and stone ground corn in the winter.

Tell us about Café Boulud. What was the inspiration behind both the restaurant and its menu?

Café Boulud is an expression of the hospitality that was offered at the first iteration at Daniel’s family home in Lyon. We carry on that tradition with an inviting restaurant featuring a seasonal menu inspired by Daniel’s cuisine and also our surroundings here in Palm Beach.

What is your culinary "philosophy," and how are you expressing that at this restaurant?

I think one thing that Daniel impressed upon me is cooking to the rhythm of the seasons. We change our menu as frequently as needed to best showcase our local harvest of fish and produce, giving our cuisine not only a sense of place, but also time.

At Café Boulud, what type of guest experience do you hope to evoke?

We want to be the restaurant that you would come back to often. Even when cooking the simplest of dishes, we want to do it well, with the intention that you would enjoy it again if you came back tomorrow.

If a chef colleague visited Café Boulud, what’s your idea of the perfect meal to recommend to him/her?

Always our market produce, simply prepared as salads, soups or pastas, then our local seafood.

Why is Café Boulud a “must-try” restaurant for visitors of The Palm Beaches?

We have the perfect location, in a shady courtyard with generous outdoor seating. We have a menu curated by one of the country’s greatest chefs. Also, and finally, we have the service to make you feel at home.

How is the culinary scene across The Palm Beaches thriving? Do you think the cuisine across The Palm Beaches has its own signature flavor?

I think we are a good melting pot, but also, things that give a sense of place are evident here in Palm Beach. We cook lighter with a more Mediterranean technique. I think the local chefs love to show off our ingredients too whether it is local lionfish or Florida mangos.

What are some of your favorite restaurants in The Palm Beaches (Boca to Jupiter)?

Coolinary Café, Grato, Buccan, Malacor Thai, Max’s Harvest, Aioli and Blue Willy’s BBQ.  

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