Chef Michael Balboni was born in Missouri, moving to Berkeley Heights, New Jersey when his father, a major league baseball player, was traded from the Kansas City Royals to the New York Yankees. As a child, Michael was introduced to the creative arts by his mother, a jeweler and tapestry weaver, learning to play the piano and stand-up bass. Eventually, Michael found cooking to be his artistic outlet. At the age of 14, Michael began his professional career washing dishes at a small restaurant near his hometown, soon being promoted to cook.
Michael attended the Culinary Institute of America and did his internship at Picholine, the acclaimed restaurant of Terrance Brennan. Upon graduation, Michael quickly moved through the ranks of David Burke’s Townhouse before meeting Chef Daniel Boulud and joining the brigade at his flagship restaurant on the Upper East Side.
The first time Michael walked into the kitchen of Restaurant DANIEL, he fell in love with the high intensity and controlled chaos of one of the city’s best restaurants. He started out with the duties assigned to most young chefs: cleaning artichokes, shucking fava beans, and peeling potatoes. By the age of 23, Michael had cooked his way through the kitchen and was promoted to Sous Chef.
After five years at Restaurant DANIEL, Michael left to open L ’Atelier de Joel Robuchon as Executive Sous Chef. Working for the “Chef of the Century,” Joel Robuchon taught Michael the leadership and organizational skills needed to run a successful restaurant in New York City.
In the spring of 2019, Michael returned home to Daniel Boulud Collection and was named Executive Chef of db bistro moderne, Daniel’s theatre district restaurant opened in 2001 by Michael’s mentor, Jean Francois Bruel. Michael has crafted new dishes such as Scallops Billi-Bi while maintaining crowd favorites like the db Burger and Coq au Vin. In line with Daniel’s Philosophy, Michael believes in the generosity of hospitality and his goal is to ensure that each guest has an experience to remember.