Chef Travis Swikard, one of the most exciting up-and-coming chefs, prepares to debut his own concept in Southern California following a decade as Daniel Boulud’s right hand man in the kitchens of Boulud Sud, Bar Boulud and Epicerie Boulud in New York.
Daniel Boulud’s right hand man, former Culinary Director Travis Swikard, is leaving Boulud’s restaurant group in New York City after 10+ years to move to San Diego to open his first very first restaurant as chef/owner.
It’s great news for the West Coast and a symbol of the momentum the Southern California region is having as an influential force in American dining. But it’s also a major move for San Diego specifically, which has long been relegated to the shadows of Los Angeles and San Francisco and thought of as a sleepy surf town with great fish taco shacks. Travis wants to help change that perception of San Diego. He knows firsthand the city’s potential and abundance the region offers, with the year-round access to produce, seafood, proximity to Baja, quality of life, etc.
It’s also a great homecoming story: Travis was born and raised in San Diego, and immersed himself in the food scene early in his career. He left after high school to the New England Culinary Institute. New England led to England, where Swikard joined Philip Thompson’s team at Auberge du Lac. Following an encounter with his future mentor, Gavin Kaysen, he returned stateside and was tapped to join Boulud’s collective in 2008. The rest is history — he moved through the ranks of Dinex, Daniel hand-picked him to help open Boulud Sud and later appointed him as Culinary Director to oversee a collective of his restaurants (Boulud Sud, Bar Boulud and Epicerie Boulud).
Travis’ new concept will will focus on his interpretation of California and Mediterranean cuisine (Cal-Med) — a genre he’s helped to define at Boulud Sud. While he’s currently in the process of hunting for the perfect space, he does aim to be open by mid-2019.