Renowned chef David Burke, who oversees an international restaurant and hospitality group, has been named an Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 New Jersey by Ernst & Young (EY), the multinational service and financial organization. One of 14 winners out of a field of 33 finalists, Burke and his company, DB Global, also received special recognition with EY’s Community Impact Award for extraordinary business leadership, dedication to the community and charitable presence, especially during the height of the pandemic. The winner of the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 New Jersey were selected by an independent panel of judges comprised of previous award winners, leading CEOs, investors and other regional business leaders.
Throughout his career, Burke has led by example and been involved in providing assistance to frontline workers, first responders, and individual who have been impacted by life altering events. These efforts span two decades; he provided meals during the aftermath of September 11th in New York City and that of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy along the Jersey Shore. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he spearheaded #FeedtheHeroes, which prepared and delivered 100,000 meals to frontline workers and first responders, while creating jobs for employees Burke had been forced to furlough.
This is the 35th year EY has honored New Jersey’s entrepreneurial business leaders who test the limits of the possible. Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the country’s preeminent competitive business awards programs.
“EY is proud to celebrate these unstoppable entrepreneurs and welcome them into our global Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni community,” said AJ Jordan, program director of the awards program for the Americas. “Despite the unprecedented challenges of the past year, these heroic leaders have inspired us all with their unrivaled courage, ambition and unwavering commitment to their companies, clients and communities.”
“We are leading by example and passion, hopefully that is contagious,” said Burke. “We are in the hospitality industry and we are hospitable. We rely on our community and if our community is healthy, our business is healthy. Being named an EY Entrepreneur of the Year and the Community Impact Award are among the finest honors I have received in my 30-year career. My entire team at DB Global has worked very hard through incredibly challenging times. We have persevered and are now a robust hospitality management concern, employing 600 talented and hard-working people. We are very, very proud of what we have achieved. We thank our DB Global team and operating partners. We also thank EY for recognizing our success and that of other enterprising business leaders.”
Acknowledged as a leading pioneer in American cooking, Burke is also recognized internationally for his revolutionary techniques, exceptional skills, successful restaurant empire and his many TV appearances. In 2020, the pandemic devastated the restaurant industry and Burke was forced to shutter all his restaurants and furlough several hundred employees. However, he remained optimistic and pivoted quickly. In addition to the #FeedtheHeroes initiative, Burke launched a virtual online cooking demo program, #CookinDB IGTV, produced a series of hilarious instruction videos with his sous chef puppet, Lefto and opened nine new restaurants – five in in New Jersey, two in North Carolina and two in Saudi Arabia.
Burke currently has 19 restaurants in Colorado, New Jersey, New York and Saudi Arabia, as well as an off-premise catering operation and an exclusive partnership with one of the premier event venues in NY’s Hudson Valley.
Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, to be announced in November at the Strategic Growth Forum®, one of the nation’s most prestigious gatherings of high-growth, market-leading companies. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner will then move on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in June 2022.