David Burke Defends Donald Trump's Decision To Eat Well-Done Steak - Exclusive

When Chef David Burke opened his BLT Prime restaurant inside the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C., some were under the impression this somehow amounted to Burke's endorsement of the former president (via Mint Lounge). However, as Burke and his reps have since made clear to Mashed, "it was a business decision, not a political statement." But, if there's one thing the multi-award-winning chef, restaurateur, and "Top Chef Masters" star is ready to defend, it's how Donald Trump likes to eat his steak. 

As the Washington Post and others have reported, Trump routinely orders his steak well-done — in other words, cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and featuring a charred exterior with little to no pink flesh (via Certified Angus Beef). Indeed, it was reported that Trump did just that when he visited BLT Prime, and there were even rumors that he ordered his well-done steak with ketchup. Although Burke couldn't be sure the ketchup wasn't destined for the french fries that accompanied the well-done steak, the fact of the matter is that the chef doesn't see what all the fuss is even about. 

"I think you should put ketchup on everything, if you like ketchup," Burke explained to Mashed during an exclusive interview. "Life is too short, man. Life's too short to be having rules about ketchup. And if you want to talk about well-done steak and how people think it's sacrilege, that's another f****** miss."

What well-done steak really offers, according to David Burke

"Here's the well-done thing," chef David Burke explained of Donald Trump's preference. "A good steak — well-done — is still juicy and moist, because it has enough fat content. Look: short ribs, they're well-done. Pot roast, well-done. So a good marbled steak well-done is still a good steak." In addition, Burke can say, with confidence, that a well-cooked steak offers something an undercooked steak can't, which is the "caramelization that occurs," in other words, the "Maillard reaction." "You know what tastes good on the outside of a roast turkey or ham?" Burke asked. "The skin, you know why? It's caramelized. Do you know why a hamburger's not boiled and it's grilled? Because it tastes better. You know why onion rings taste better fried? Because they're browned. When you caramelize things, they get tastier."

But over the course of our chat, we discovered that David Burke has a far more sentimental reason for defending the choice to enjoy well-done steak, even with ketchup, regardless of who's making it or enjoying it. David Burke's beloved dad eats his steak well done — and with ketchup. "I would never tell my father that he doesn't know what he's doing when it comes to food," Burke explained. "He put food on my table for years."

Stay up to date with Chef David Burke's activities, including his involvement with the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, by visiting his website and social media.