Derrick is a senior at FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Early last semester he was one of more than 140 students to compete in Red Robin's challenge. Last week he found out that he had beat 'em all with his winning entry, the Bubblin' Brown Sugar Bar-B-Que Burger.
The prized burger will be available for all to try tomorrow night at the Red Robin tent in the Amstel Light Burger Bash beach side at the Ritz-Carlton.
Also for winning the contest, Derrick gets a $10,000 scholarship and a chance for his burger to be placed on menus at some Red Robin restaurants around the country, although the company hasn't announced which ones yet.
Derrick is not even a chef, but somehow he has some chef skills. The contest was not akin to Chopped where contestants perform before a panel of food celebrities. Rather, he submitted his recipe, and it was judged by a panel of FIU faculty and the Red Robin team. Celebrity Robert Irvine, who is famous for appearing on shows such as Dinner: Impossible and Worst Cooks in America, will chose the winner for Red Robin's Best of the Bash at the Amstel Light Burger Bash. The contest was only available to FIU students.
The idea for Derrick's recipe was developed during many days of backyard barbecuing with his friends and family in the Brownsville neighborhood of Miami where he grew up.
Derrick credits his grandmother for giving him an appreciation for food. She would always make him the best things to eat, like her mac 'n' cheese, which was his favorite.
The Chaplin School encompasses many disciplines within the tourism industry, which ultimately includes the culinary world. But Derrick doesn't want to be a chef, but work in the hotel business instead.
But every now and then the foodie side of him comes out and it just happened to win him ten thousand bucks.
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The Amstel Light Burger Bash is held from 7:30-10:30 p.m. and is a sold-out event. For those who are lucky enough to be there, Derrick will be waiting.