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Boulud bowls over Beijing

Beijing welcomed its first celebrity chef after Daniel Boulud, famous for his restaurants in New York, opened an upmarket eatery just a month ahead of the Olympics.

by: AFP | 16 Jul 2008

"Maison Boulud" is located in the former US embassy where secretary of state Henry Kissinger met Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai to prepare for president Richard Nixon's historic 1972 visit.

"Boulud always wanted to come to China," restaurant general manager Ignace Lecleir, said.

The market for upscale gastronomy in Shanghai was already crowded, according to Lecleir, and Beijing – where upmarket dining is less prevalent – represented a golden opportunity.

Celebrity chefs have already targeted Shanghai, traditionally seen as more cosmopolitan and happening than China's capital.

French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, established in New York, opened his own "Jean Georges" eatery in Shanghai in 2004.

But the arrival of Boulud on the Beijing scene is seen as a sign that the city is catching up, with new restaurants, clubs and bars opening in the capital on a regular basis.

Boulud was raised on a farm outside Lyon in eastern France and was trained by renowned French chefs, but it was in New York that he made his reputation as a chef and more recently as a restaurateur.

He now owns seven restaurants, as well as a catering company.

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