The Restlessly Inventive Chef Tells Us His Ten Favorite Ingredients and Why He Chose Them
The always entertaining David Burke rose to prominence at New York City’s River Cafe before moving on to Park Avenue Cafe, and then to the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. These days, he’s at the helm of David Burke Group (visit their site, for a limited time they’re giving away snacks to Facebook fans, as well as a chance to sit down with Le Burke himself).
Via his namesake corporate entity, Burke lords over restaurants in New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Chicago. He’s also the restlessly inventive mind behind Flavor-Transfer Spice Sheets and Flavorsprays, to name just two of his unconventional concoctions. Given that buildup, the ingredients he chose below might seem anticlimactic, but his explanations are vintage Burke. We always enjoy catching up with David: he provided a hilarious story for Don’t Try This at Home, and can free-associate with the best of them. Accordingly, we didn’t ask too many questions during this interview; instead, we just let him go.
This is turning into quite a collection of Toqueland Tens–previous installments feature Harold Dieterle, Emily Luchetti, Michelle Bernstein, and Sean Baker. And, now, ten from David Burke:
1. BUTTER. “It’s delicious, it’s natural, it’s versatile. I was trained in France and butter was a key ingredient in sauces, pastries, mousses. I don’t use it as much as I used to because we don’t make as many sauces that are that enriched, but butter on bread, or butter on a good piece of toast is heaven.”
2. EGGS. “Eggs are the thing that, if I had to take one thing to an island, that’s what I would take. The versatility, the comfort of an egg. Egg is my go to. I know it’s not junk food, but it’s my guilty pleasure. When I’m not feeling good, I get the urge for eggs. I liked poached eggs, but I like them all ways: I like them whipped, like a whipped scramble. I could do an omelet. I like over easy, Jersey-diner style. At home I just microwave them: I throw them in a coffee cup, scramble them up, throw a pat of butter in, I microwave them and eat them right out of the cup. It’s a quick method for me; there’s no clean up. I have coffee and a coffee cup of eggs.”