Ventanas Chef David Burke Named Culinary Director of Son Cubano in West New York

Son Cubano David Burke
Chef David Burke (L) with Alex Duran and the Son Cubano culinary team
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West New York, NJ restaurant Son Cubano has used the reopening of New Jersey restaurants to bring a major upgrade to its fare. Acclaimed chef David Burke has been named culinary director of the modern Cuban restaurant.

Burke, a resident of Fort Lee, already helms the kitchens at Ventanas in Fort Lee, Nauti Bar in Sea Bright, Drifthouse in Sea Bright and David Burke at Orange Lawn, part of South Orange Tennis Club. Son Cubano opened for outdoor dining with the rest of the state’s restaurants on June 15. “We’re slowly implementing changes,” said Burke.

Alexander Duran owns both Son Cubano and Ventanas, the latter which he’s collaborated on with Burke since it opened in May of 2019. This year, Son Cubano celebrates 10 years of serving guests modern Cuban food with a backdrop of the New York City skyline. The restaurant features two dining rooms, two bars, a lounge area, an outdoor patio and entertainment nearly every night.

Among the additions to the Son Cubano menu are his signature thick strips of bacon. They are hung on a tiny clothesline and spiced up with maple syrup, pepper, pineapple and jalapeño. Also on the menu: octopus carpaccio, empanadas, a soft-boiled “Cuban egg” similar to a Scotch egg, “Cuban crisps,” which are super thin Cuban sandwiches — great for munching — street corn, skirt steak and more.

“It’s a much cleaner, more beautiful menu, by not just putting rice and beans on every plate just to fill up space,” Burke explained.

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Fueled by passion, grit and a knack for artful innovation, David Burke is one of the best known and most respected chefs in modern American cuisine. Considered a leading pioneer in American cooking, Burke, a New Jersey native, also is recognized internationally for his revolutionary techniques and skill, his successful restaurant empire and his many TV appearances. In the parlance of today’s celebrity chef culture, he is a rock star of the culinary world.

At age 26, Burke’s kitchen mastery won early recognition when he was named Executive Chef of the legendary River Cafe. And while there, he became the first American ever to win the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d’Honneur, cementing his reputation as a leading international chef. He subsequently won Japan’s Nippon Award for Excellence, the Robert Mondavi Award of Excellence and two nominations for James Beard Best Chef. Burke also was awarded a coveted three-star New York Times review while at the River Café and later became a familiar guest on TV’s Top Chef.

Through his career, Burke as been the recipient of numerous awards. He is the only American to win Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d’Honneur.  In addition, he has been awarded Japan’s Nippon Award of Excellence, Robert Mondavi Award of Excellence and  the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef/New York.

Looking for fresh opportunities, Burke eventually set his sights on a new goal – restaurant ownership. He opened many restaurants with the founder of the iconic Smith & Wollensky, and later formed a hospitality company with partners, owning and operating numerous award-winning restaurants around the United States. It was during this period he gained U.S patents for several innovations, including his famous Himalayan salt aging process for beef, Always progressing, Burke created his own company, David Burke Group, with several sub companies including DB Global and David Burke Hospitality Management, which owns and manages, licenses and consults with restaurants, hotels, clubs and schools.

He has built a well known brand out of the kitchen. He is  the author of two cookbooks, Cooking With David Burke, and David Burke’s New American Classics. Over the years, Chef Burke has become one of the most recognized chefs on television, including appearances on two seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, a guest spot on the Every Day with Rachael Ray show, NBC’s TODAY Show, Bloomberg’s small-business television series The Mentor, and more.  He has become a fixuture at the annual U.S. Tennis Open in his role as Celebrity Chef and consultant for Champions Bar & Grille in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

What Burke also brings to his new post at Son Cubano is an unmatched portfolio of goodwill. He can be found volunteering his time to numerous charities. His home state of New Jersey has always been at the top of that list with his work at the annual Table to Table gala that benefits thousands of hungry Garden State residents.

  • RAK Porcelain
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Imperial Dade
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Inline Plastics
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Atosa USA
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • McKee Foods
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Day & Nite
  • Easy Ice
  • Red Gold Sacramento