Chef David Waltuck is known for his down-to-earth sensibility, while insisting on excellence in all areas under his purview. He embraces an evolutionary approach to food and a commitment to community-building via culinary instruction. For over four decades, he has developed, launched and run some of New York City’s finest restaurants including chic bistro élan, unfussy yet polished brasserie Le Zinc and the iconic Chanterelle, which closed in 2009 after 30 successful years and is where he broke the boundaries of French cooking. Bronx-raised Waltuck is just the second American-born, Manhattan-based chef to earn four stars from the New York Times.
David married his partner (in business, as in life) Karen and together in 1979 they opened Chanterelle: an unpretentious pioneer in the downtown dining scene with handwritten menus and no dress code. In a New York Magazine cover story, writer Gael Greene dubbed him, “The Daring Young Man on Grand Street.” David once described Chanterelle as, "a fantasy of a restaurant, dreamed up by a little, food-loving kid, that somehow, magically, came true." The restaurant blossomed from its origins in then-desolate SoHo, moving to TriBeCa in 1989. Waltuck shares recipes for signature dishes such as Grilled Seafood Sausage with Beurre Blanc Sauce, Lobster with Sauternes and Curry, and Cherry Vanilla Brioche Pudding with Maple-Star Anise Ice Cream in two restaurant-namesake cookbooks.
After 45 years in the industry, today David is an Executive Chef Consultant and focuses on opportunities to impart his knowledge, expertise and work ethic to the next culinary generation – building bridges from a simple love of food to viable careers. He fosters a natural inclination for teaching and mentorship as a Lead Instructor for First Course New York, a city-funded program that provides training and placement for students who don't have the financial means to pay for culinary school. He is also the former Director of Culinary Affairs at New York's Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) where he curated an alumni externship program and taught both professional and recreational classes.