When word broke last week that Chef Zach Bell of Café Boulud in Palm Beach would be leaving, speculation immediately turned to the question of who would replace him. That question has now been answered: Jim Leiken.
Leiken will be heading south from New York, where for the past two years he's been executive chef of Daniel Boulud's DBGB Kitchen and Bar. Leiken's resumé is the kind that should warm the hearts of lowly line cooks everywhere. After an unpaid externship at the now-closed March restaurant and a brief stint at the also-now-closed Tabla, Leiken joined the Boulud empire at the bottom of the totem pole of the flagship Daniel. After three years he had worked his way up to a promotion to executive sous chef at the New York DB Bistro Moderne, then DBGB.
Leiken steps into some decent-sized shoes: Bell was a three-time nominee for a James Beard "Best Chef" award while at Café Boulud. Wonder if we'll hear from him again, as he goes into the "private sector" at the Addison Reserve Country Club in Boca Raton.
You can read up a bit on Chef Leiken at Grub Street, which three years ago presciently dubbed him the "next star from Boulud's chef stable," and in this profile by D'Artagnan.