Welcome to WORD OF MOUTH with Leiti Hsu on HeritageRadioNetwork.org! Leiti, a fixture in NYC dining culture, is joined by in-studio guest #PEOPLEWELIKE David Burke, who at 26 years old helmed the kitchen at the famed, wildly innovative River Cafe. Now he’s got an empire of restaurants in NYC and around the country.

We’ll talk a flurry of new openings this year. David shares how his dad tried quite unsuccessfully to dissuade him from cooking by enrolling him in a cooking class. He recalls getting schooled on “how to open a clam the fastest” at his first cooking job at a New Jersey country club. Also, how he coped with getting the worst dish of the year as a chef in his 20s.

We’ll #WINEedDown with Alex Lapratt, partner/sommelier of Atrium DUMBO. Named Best Sommelier by the American Sommelier Association, Alex hails from several Michelin 2 and 3 star spots like Atera, Jean-Georges, and Le Bernardin. He says that the truth about a wine list lies on the wines-by-the-glass page.

Tweet at #WOMshow @leitihsu.

Thanks to our sponsor, The International Culinary Center. Music by takstar.



“Back then, being a chef was not a great career choice… There was really nothing to compare it to… the CIA was in its infancy at that time.” [20:00]

“My dad signed me up for a cooking school in a mall…he figured I’d be discouraged, it’s all housewives, they drink wine, learn how to make a pot-au-feu or something…he thought I’d be like, this sucks. I came back and said, I signed up for all the other classes. [20:00]


“I’m like ‘Sh*t!,’ the worst dish of the year! I was so devastated…the heat in my face…all of a sudden, here comes Drew [Nieporent] coming down the aisle [of the plane], telling everybody, ‘Look, that guy in the back! He’s got the worst dish of the year!'” [33:15]

“I came in early to learn how to open a clam the fastest way…He took a meat hammer and started smashing the clams, and all the meat and the pulp and the shells went all over my shirt, and I was like, ‘OK, dumb question I guess.'” [27:28]

David Burke on WORD OF MOUTH with Leiti Hsu