NY-based chef spices up Vancouver fest

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Posted January 13, 2016 by Michelle Hopkins in British Columbia
Skate-Maitake-Sea-Urchin-Mushroom-Chip-Luksus

Among the original dishes developed by chef Daniel Burns is this one featuring skate with chips made of maitake mushroom and sea urchin. (Signe Birck photo)

Story by Michelle Hopkins
Vacay.ca Writer

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Can’t make it to the Michelin-starred Luksus in Brooklyn for dinner? During Dine Out Vancouver 2016, foodies can feast on the incomparable cuisine of one of Canada’s most influential chefs, Halifax-born Daniel Burns.

At Vancouver’s award-winning Wildebeest, the guest-chef collaboration between Burns and Wildebeest’s executive chef, Pekka Tavela, will offer guests a rare opportunity to sample the innovative fare of both culinary masters.

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Halifax-born Daniel Burns has made a name for himself in New York, where his restaurant, Luksus, has earned a Michelin star. (Signe Birck photo)

“Everybody in our kitchen is really looking forward to working with Daniel,” says Tavela, who like Burns got his start as a pastry chef. “We are already working on the menu with local farmers and suppliers and we are pulling out all the stops to create an interesting menu.”

Of Burns, Tavela says, “He’s an extremely talented and well-known chef. I think it’s going to re-energize everyone in our kitchen. For the public it means a rare opportunity to eat the dishes from a well-respected chef who has made it onto the international stage.”

‘Best Canadian Chef You’ve Never Heard Of’

Vacay.ca reached Burns in Brooklyn a few hours before he was flying off to Warsaw, Poland, where he was invited to cook for a magazine’s fifth anniversary party. His Scandinavian-inspired restaurant – tucked away behind his and co-owner Jarnit-Bjergsø’s Greenpoint bar, Tørst — has garnered worldwide attention and its first Michelin star within less than two years.

Since Burns burst onto the Manhattan culinary scene, he has attracted a lot of media attention from the likes of The New Yorker, the New York Times and the Globe and Mail. Burns has been touted as “one of the 50 most influential people in Brooklyn food” and “the best Canadian chef you’ve never heard of.” Despite having received so much global acclaim, the 40-year-old is unassuming.

Throughout his career, Burns has quietly built his reputation while working for some of the world’s most in-demand chefs. He earned degrees in mathematics and philosophy at Dalhousie University before moving into the upscale restaurant industry in Europe. Of his achievements, he simply says, “It’s been a great journey.”

One of the most pivotal moments in his career was when he moved to England in 2005. He soon became the senior chef de partie at The Fat Duck – which rank high on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ratings. During his 18-month tenure, he created innovative desserts for executive chef Heston Blumenthal.

After leaving The Fat Duck, Burns headed to Copenhagen’s Noma.

Burns, who originally aspired to be a math teacher, ran the pastry department for three years. Once again, he received praise for his original desserts.

From there, he landed the coveted position as Momofuku’s head of research and development. He was in charge of problem-solving and innovation. Yet again, he delivered. Burns was recognized with the company’s most important culinary discovery of 2010 — a shiitake mushroom chip.

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At Luksus in Brooklyn, mussels receive the artistic touch of executive chef Daniel Burns. (Signe Birck photo)

Meanwhile, it was always his dream to one day open his own restaurant. July 2013 is burned in his memory — that is when he and his partner opened their 26-seat restaurant, Luksus (Danish for “luxury”).

Luksus is said to present one of Brooklyn’s most elegant and honest menus. His concept is earthy, simple food — seasonal and interesting ingredients presented in unexpected and adventurous ways, enticing even the most cautious palates to daringly journey through Burns’ imaginative dishes. (In addition his beer-focused restaurant is the first in the world to receive a Michelin star that does not offer wine or liquor.)

Meanwhile, the soft-spoken Burns does not apologize for not serving wine at Luksus.

“We are being true to our philosophy and we don’t want to compromise … often, people come in and think beer is Guinness and Corona,” he quips. “It’s wonderfully exciting to see how people react when they discover the beer pairings work and that we can find them a beer they will enjoy.”

Burns’s return to Vancouver, albeit a short one, is like coming full circle. He did his apprenticeship in the British Columbia metropolis.

“Any time I get back to Canada it’s exciting,” says Burns. “I can’t wait to see family and old friends.”

MORE ABOUT DINE OUT VANCOUVER 2016

About: Dine Out Vancouver will host a series of five exclusive dinners starring award-winning chefs from Sydney, New York, Copenhagen, Los Angeles and Puerto Vallarta. Each one-night-only event will feature a collaborative dinner with a Vancouver chef. During each event, both chefs will join forces to produce a memorable feast, taking inspiration from their respective restaurants’ most popular dishes, their own favourite fare and seasonal ingredients

Dates: The festival runs from January 15-31. The collaborative dinner with New York’s Daniel Burns and Vancouver’s Pekka Tavela at Wildebeest happens Monday, January 25. 

Website: For more information, visit Dine Out Vancouver 2016 website.


About the Author

Michelle Hopkins
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