The chef becomes the 10th person to receive the accolade and will officially receive his award at the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards in London on 1 June.
On news of his award Boulud said: “The challenge - and I would hope, my ultimate success, or what I should be judged by - is the creativity, and level of detail and service that is achieved, in every one of my restaurants.
“This, along with mentoring chefs, is my life’s work and what I am proudest of.”
Boulud, originally from Lyon, started his career at 15 after becoming a finalist in France's competition for Best Culinary Apprentice.
He worked with renowned chefs Roger Vergé, Georges Blanc and Michel Guérard before moving to New York, opening the Polo Lounge at The Westbury Hotel, then Le Régence at the Hotel Plaza Athenée. He also spent six years as executive chef at Le Cirque.
After opening his eponymous restaurant Daniel in 1993, the chef went on to open more restaurants in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Palm Beach and Miami in the US as well as in Toronto, Montreal, Singapore and London, where he operates Bar Boulud at The Mandarin Oriental.
William Drew, group editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “We are delighted to be able to present this prestigious award to one of France’s and America’s most accomplished chefs. Daniel’s classic cooking style has evolved to incorporate modern techniques and international flavours. This award is recognition of his extraordinary talent and a celebration of his success as both a chef and restaurateur.”