Bouley at Home is also a working expression of Mr. Bouley’s three-pronged approach to food: that it should be delicious, healthy and, for optimum benefit, enjoyed in a communal setting like the one he has now created.
Bring up those three points, and Mr. Bouley is ready with scientific studies, physicians’ testimonials and anecdotal evidence from across the globe. He delivers theories with zeal, along with a taste of something (French cultured butter, for example, or rosy Ibérico ham) to prove a point about beneficial fats, salt with good minerals, fermentation, or the scandal of the sugary starches that are used in much of what’s gluten-free.
“I’ve always wanted to share my passion for how food tastes and the feelings it brings, and now I can share the science of food, too,” he said.
He has little use for much of what passes as “wellness” these days. To him, the term is as meaningless as calling foods natural.
“Young people are so nervous about what to eat,” he said. “There’s an epidemic out there of intolerances,” referring to allergies and autoimmune and digestive problems, among other ailments. “It wasn’t like that in the old days, in France where my uncles live, and it doesn’t have to be like that today.”
He is evangelical about what he calls the “living pantry,” the real, seasonal foods devoid of industrial processing that are part of his teaching.
His approach to food has been reinforced over the years by his work, especially in the Test Kitchen and in his travels. But closing Bouley and Bouley Test Kitchen on West Broadway made it possible for him to put it in the spotlight. He still is an owner of Brushstroke, the Japanese restaurant on Hudson Street, and is sole owner of Bouley Botanical, an event space nearby. But he’s at least two years away from opening another Bouley, this time an intimate 25-seater on Harrison Street.
Soon, near the entrance of Bouley at Home, he will open a bakery selling fresh-baked breads. The space also contains the relocated Test Kitchen, which doubles as a place for private parties with its own kitchen.
Bouley at Home opens Thursday, 31 West 21st Street, no phone, davidbouley.com.