Blurring the lines between chef, artist, entrepreneur and inventor, David Burke is one of the leading pioneers in American cooking today. His fascination with ingredients and the art of the meal has fueled a career marked by creativity, critical acclaim and the introduction of revolutionary products and cooking techniques.
Burke’s mastery of French culinary technique was confirmed when, at age 26, he won France’s coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d’Honneur for unparalleled skill and creativity with his native cuisine. Additionally, Burke has been honored with Japan’s Nippon Award of Excellence, the Robert Mondavi Award of Excellence and the CIA’s August Escoffier Award. Nation’s Restaurant News named Burke one of the 50 Top R&D Culinarians, and Time Out New York honored him as the “Best Culinary Prankster” in 2003. In May 2009, Burke was inducted into the “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America” by the James Beard Foundation. In the same month, he also won the distinctive, Menu Masters award from Nation’s Restaurant News as one of the nation’s most celebrated innovators. Star Chefs, the magazine for culinary insiders, awarded Chef Burke with the “Contribution to American Cuisine Award” at the 2009 Star Chefs Congress.
Burke trained at the Culinary Institute of America, and soon thereafter, he traveled to France where he spent several stages with notable chefs such asPierre Troisgros, Georges Blanc and Gaston Lenotre. Burke returned to the U.S. as a sous chef for Waldy Malouf at Le Cremaillere and then forCharlie Palmer at River Café where he ascended to Executive Chef and earned three stars from The New York Times. In 1992, Burke opened the Park Avenue Café with Smith & Wollensky CEO Alan Stillman, and then, in 1996, he became Vice President of Culinary Development for the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group.
In 2003, Burke opened davidburke & Donatella, now known as David Burke Townhouse, on New York’s Upper East Side, followed by David Burke at Bloomingdale’s, a dual concept restaurant offering both a full service “Burke Bar Café” and a “Burke in the Box” take-out and eat-in concept, which he expanded to Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport in November 2008. Burke also opened up David Burke’s Primehouse in The James Chicago Hotel. Burke’s restaurant collection continued to grow when he purchased Fromagerie, a fine dining restaurant in Rumson, New Jersey, where his culinary career began under founders Markus and Hubert Peter. David Burke Prime opened at Foxwoods Casino & Resort in July 2008 and Fishtail by David Burke, opened in December 2008 in New York. Most recently, he opened David Burke Kitchen in The James New York in SoHo, bringing his signature whimsical style to downtown New York.
During his tenure at the River Café, Burke began experimenting with interesting ingredients and cooking techniques. His first culinary innovations,Pastrami Salmon™ (now available through Perona Farms), and flavored oils revolutionized gastronomic technique. During his 12-year period at the Park Avenue Café, Burke created GourmetPops™, ready-to-serve cocktail lollipops. Never one for slowing down, Burke continued to develop creative culinary products including easy Flavor-Transfer Spice Sheets andFlavorsprays, both designed to eliminate fat while keeping the flavor. Additionally, Burke is actively involved with culinology, an approach to food that blends the culinary arts and food technology.
Burke supports numerous charities and community groups including the American Cancer Society, City Harvest, City Meals on Wheels, March of Dimes, the Charles Lafitte Foundation and the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, based in his native state of New Jersey. He has also served as a board member of Share our Strength and is currently on the board of Table to Table, a food rescue program in northern New Jersey.
Cooking with David Burke was published in 1995, and Burke’s second cookbook, David Burke’s New American Classics by Alfred A. Knopf, launched in April 2006.
EXECUTIVE CHEF RICK GRESH
A modern steakhouse menu is featured at David Burke’s Primehouse, with Executive Chef Rick Gresh at the helm. Growing up in the Cleveland area, Gresh earned his Associate Degree in Culinary Arts at the nationally renowned Culinary Institute of America. While in school, he landed an impressive externship at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and after graduation scored a spot on the line at Trio in Evanston. He then moved on to the Celebrity Café at the Hotel Nikko in Chicago before becoming consulting chef de cuisine at Tsunami, a contemporary Japanese restaurant located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.
At just 23, Gresh accepted an Executive Chef position at Chicago’s hip jazz club, Green Dolphin Street, and won a three-star review from the Chicago Tribune. Being named Executive Chef a year later allowed the restaurant to thrive under his leadership. Pat Bruno of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “This is serious food.” His next move was to The Wyndham Hotel Chicago and the award-winning Caliterra Restaurant, where he proved himself once again and was quickly promoted to Regional Corporate Chef. In 2005 Gresh became the Executive Chef at the prestigious, private Saddle & Cycle Club, where he oversaw the entire culinary operation.
Gresh was named a “Rising Star of American Cuisine” by the James Beard Foundation in 2001. In 2004 and 2006 he was a USA competition finalist in the world’s premier culinary competition, the Bocuse D’Or. In 2011, Rick was awarded the “Chef Humanitarian of the Year Award” by Plate magazine.