interview with Dillon Burke
What happens when you combine fashion and food?
by rachel schwartzmann graphic by jane espiritu
In this interview, Dillon Burke of thread & salt discusses his personal connection to food, his thoughts on fashion and how he celebrates the holidays with family.
Who is Dillon Burke and what is your story leading up to the inception of thread & salt?
I’m myself! I’m 23, I live in NYC. I’ve done a few things in terms of careers, I currently work in social media for a restaurant group and currently run a blog that is primarily food and fashion. My parents met in the restaurant industry and I was very much a restaurant child – My dad is a chef and my mom was a server at that time. People always joke that my mom’s house is like straight out of Home Decor or Food Network down to the matching colors and upholstery, she really is a great chef and my dad’s work speaks for itself. He owns the restaurant group I currently work for – It’s really a cool time for us. After I graduated from Restaurant Management at Johnson and Wales I wanted to branch out and maybe explore my interest in men’s clothing. I did that for a year and a half and recently took this position I’m in – Now I’m fully immersed in this world. It’s quite fun.
Do you think there is a correlation between fashion and food?
I do think there is a correlation, especially in certain ways: Like in imagery I think they’re both very powerful and instill certain feelings in you, for food it could be pleasure, it could be comfort, it could be warmth – Food is a international sign of “welcome” and it has this unbelievable skill to look beautiful. Anything that looks terrible probably tastes great so there’s really this cool dynamic that it has. Fashion is very similar in imagery, it evokes a lot of emotion and tells a story that you can attach to something. Product-wise, I don’t necessarily think fashion and food are marketed the same way – Often people think they’re both artistic so they must be, but they’re really not! One you can consume primarily based on the need to survive, the other to instill emotion and say something about yourself. What you eat says much less about yourself than what you wear, so in that way they’re not really similar. I think you need clothing, but I’m not necessarily sure you need fashion.
What significance does food have in your life personally?
It’s really been my life beyond kind of what it is to the average person. I’m not necessarily inspired by the ingredients, I’m much more into the hospitality of a restaurant. I like process and all of those things but for some reason when all of that comes together there’s something very enticing about it. It’s how my family lives and works and provides and I really like to eat as well… Pretty big hobby of mine.
Why do you think storytelling in food is important?
Unlike fashion, everyone has to have food and fashion is a choice. Food you’ve had since day one, you’ve had it in your way so you become very conventional in the way you go home and cook your meals. The thing that I think really entices people about food and cooking which is something they’re so comfortable with, is that it’s done trillions of different ways by someone else. People are fascinated and want to know what goes in these situations- They want to see a clean kitchen and to ultimately have the curtain drawn back and see the experience. I think with food, it’s just important to really get it out the door – It will resonate with people regardless.
How does your family celebrate food during the holidays?
For us, we have never really been big on having a huge celebration, we’re really just about getting together. Like I said before, food is warm and welcoming and really brings everyone together. You may serve things on four different dishes but you’re still eating the same things and sharing in that experience. There’s a lot of personality which is really cool, sometimes too much personality – The way we celebrate is essentially to celebrate each other and food is just there as an attachment, an extension of that celebration. And in a way food is celebration in itself.
photos courtesy of Dillon Burke
Thread or Salt?
It depends. Some days I’m really into the shoes I’m wearing and other days I just want to eat or make a cocktail or something like that. I’m surrounded much more by food now, so I’m actually gravitating towards clothing/style whereas when I was working in clothing I gravitated more towards food because that was something I didn’t have the time for. I’m used to having balance of those two aspects in my life, and I get a little off kilter when one of them is way higher than the other.
What are you thankful for?
The ability to live in a great city, have support from a strong encouraging family and donuts… And risotto.