After graduating college with degrees in mathematics and philosophy, Daniel Burns turned to cooking when he realized that high-school math teacher was not his dream job. Like many a North American chef before him, Burns relocated to Europe, for an intense, hands-on education. He worked at two London restaurants, The Fat Duck, as the pastry chef, and St. John, picking up the finer points of butchery, before winding up at Noma in Copenhagen, where he established the pastry program. During his three years there, he saw Noma become one of the top restaurants in the world.
Back stateside in New York, Burns headed the test kitchen at David Chang’s Momofuku restaurant empire. His mathematics background “didn’t hurt,” he admits when it came to precision, but as he describes his invention of Momofuku’s shiitake chip, we get the feeling his capacity for abstract philosophical thought helped as well. While trying to concoct a new broth, he realized flavor was getting caught in the strainer. Of course. So, he dried out the strainer sludge (really), and found it formed a brown, porous chip, that happened to taste incredible.
Now, having mastered both the sweet and savory realms of the kitchen, Burns, finally, is setting up on his own. A few years back, he opened his first restaurant, the 26-seat Scandinavian inspired Luksus, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He teamed up with his friend, Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, who runs Tørst, the bar in front that serves a curated selection of rare and exotic beers.
Luksus has been awarded a coveted star by the Michelin Guide.