Celebrity Chef Danny Boome on Kitchen Essentials, Cooking Injuries and New York’s Best Steak

Marni Golden

 Celebrity Chef Danny Boome on Kitchen Essentials, Cooking Injuries and New Yorks Best SteakLanding the gig as the host of ABC’s new Saturday morning cooking show “Recipe Rehab” (which premiered October 6th) isn’t something Danny Boome could’ve possibly imagined for himself growing up. After all, the British native began his career as a professional hockey player, followed by college where he studied marketing, and then eventually he became a manny (male-nanny) for a large family in the Swiss Alps. The latter post is where Boome rolled up his sleeves and dived head first into the kitchen, as he was responsible for feeding this large family and preparing feasts for sizeable dinner parties.
After getting the cooking bug, Boome spent a brief stint at the famed cooking school The Grange, which he ditched to get his hands dirty (again) spending six months in the Canadian bush followed by time in Spain, where he literally mastered the art of hunting and gathering.
Eventually working at Asia de Cuba in London, Boome now finds himself a steadfast New Yorker (he’s been in the city for five years) and a burgeoning TV star.
Boome chatted with us on how he plans to change the way we eat, how urbanites can cook at home and why his “messy, working hands” are missing half a finger and a knuckle.
The Vivant: Let’s talk about your new show “Recipe Rehab.” What mission is it trying to accomplish? I know you have a lot of opinions.
Danny Boome: I do have a lot of opinions. I think the biggest opinion I have about the show is putting the health message across, but not in an intimidating way. And I think the nicest thing is that it’s giving people options for the first time. I respect Jamie Oliver for what he does, but unfortunately, the show was about bringing all the negatives to what society has. So, our show is really positive, but it’s not telling you that you have to be healthy. It’s not scaring you.
For example, we have two chefs, and they’re challenged to make apple pie. You can’t get more American than that. But you’re challenged to make it healthier. One chef is changing the pastry, the other is changing the ingredients.
Living in a big city is quite different from hunting in the country (or a suburb), and we often don’t have time to spend hours at the market. What are your five essential things all urbanites should have in their cupboard at all times?
A can of crushed tomatoes, an onion, some garlic, some chili flakes, and parmesan cheese. Out of that, I think you can probably make anything. Why my fridge is practically empty is because I don’t shop. I shop for a meal specifically so everything is fresh. I don’t really order in. It’s more of a budget thing, but for an urbanite, it’s a lot wiser to plan your meal and then you know exactly how much you’re spending and exactly how much you’re getting.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York City?
I love Commerce. I think people don’t get them. They have beautiful food. The porterhouse there is my absolute favorite. They have a seasonal menu that changes, they have really good details, fantastic cocktails, the atmosphere is fantastic, it’s out of the way. I think one of the most genuine New York restaurants. I also love Strip House.
Your hands seem like they’ve taken quite a beating. I imagine there’s a good story behind that.
I love this story because it’s so characteristic of me. I’m a Chatty Cathy in the kitchen. So this one particular day in the kitchen at Asia de Cuba, I was on my own having to learn how to make guacamole. I had worked 18 hours, had had three hours of sleep, and six shots of espresso. I’ve got 12 cases of avocado. What you do is open, pop, twist, and you take the stone out. You get into a rhythm and I have some tune in my head and then I found a dirty stone (meaning soft seed). I fell into the avocado and the knife so hard that it went into the bone. The chef comes up to me and says, “Give that to me here” and blood spurts everywhere and he soon packs me off into an ambulance.
Needless to say, ten years later, I’m sitting at the Empire Hotel in New York, and this chef walks across and he goes, “Boome. Chef.” It was my old sous-chef, Sean. He said, “The last time I saw you, you were waving goodbye to me from an ambulance.” I had to have plastic surgery. Oh, and I chopped off my finger and lost a knuckle, playing hockey. Told you, messy hands!