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Chef David Burke infuses flavours with air

U.S. chef David Burke is considered a vanguard in contemporary American cuisine with his creative twists on traditional fares.

by: Richard Leong | 13 Dec 2006

Burke operates four restaurants that bear his name and will open a fifth one in Las Vegas in February. He also consults other restaurateurs, mostly Hawaiian Tropic Zone in New York.

He also oversees several food lines including his signature gourmet pops – creamy treats on sticks with flavours ranging from smoked salmon to chocolate-covered cheesecake.

Burke was the first American to win Les Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, France's highest culinary prize. In 2003, Time Out New York magazine named Burke "Best Culinary Prankster."

He spoke to Reuters about his cooking:

Q: What sparked your interest in food and cooking?

A: "It was completely out of the left field. I was pushed into the kitchen trying to make a few bucks. My dad had other plans for me at the time. I was a grade-A student. I love the energy. I love the pressure of the kitchen and the creative process."

Q: Who has been your main influence?

A: "I went to the Culinary Institute of America. I worked with a lot of top-notch European chefs like Pierre Troisgros, George Blanc and Gaston Lenotre. Back in America, I worked with Waldy Malouf and Charlie Palmer."

Q: What pieces of equipment and utensil could you not live without in your kitchen?

A: "You have to have non-stick pans. You need a grinder for spices. You also should have flexible spatulas and good pots and pans."

Q: What techniques do you experiment with?

A: "We are playing with a lot of teas, broths and infusions. We are trying to cook lighter, adding flavours without the calories. At my steakhouse in Chicago, we are ageing our steaks by infusing the air with salt, peppers and chillies. The meat will act as a sponge to absorb the flavours."

Q: Any tips for at-home chefs?

A: "Just be organised. Clear off the counter. Clean as you go. Those are the keys to working at home."


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