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Daniel Boulud’s Culinary Director Trading NYC for San Diego

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Chef Travis Swikard will launch his own project in San Diego

 Chef Travis Swikard
Aliza Eliazarov

A native San Diego chef who spent the last decade cooking in the orbit of famed French chef Daniel Boulud has announced his intent to return here to open his first solo restaurant. Travis Swikard joined Boulud’s restaurant group in 2008, working with former San Diegan Gavin Kaysen (Spoon & Stable) at Café Boulud and eventually moving up the ranks to oversee New York’s Boulud Sud, Bar Boulud and Epicerie Boulud as its culinary director.

Swikard, who grew up in Santee, entered the industry at 15-years-old and spent four years with the Cohn Restaurant Group at Island Prime before enrolling in the New England Culinary Institute. He trained at England’s Auberge du Lac before working his way up to executive chef at Boulud Sud, where he earned a StarChefs Rising Star Chef Award during his tenure. Boulud recently bade a fond farewell to Swikard, who has been traveling extensively as he researches his new restaurant. According to Food & Wine, he and his family plan to settle back in San Diego by the end of September.

Swikard is currently considering several different local neighborhoods for the restaurant, which he hopes to open by mid-2019. It will be a continuation of the blend of California and Mediterranean (Cal-Med) cuisine that he has become known for at Boulud Sud, only now, the chef will have immediate and year-round access to the regional produce and seafood which defines that style of cooking.

Daniel Boulud with Swikard
Bonjwing Lee