Although we had grand dreams that a local chef would take the prize, Symon's B Spot Burgers claimed the People's Choice Award yet again this year at last night's Burger Bash (that's a third consecutive win for him). Fellow Iron Chefs Marc Forgione, Morimoto, and Bobby Flay must be getting a slight complex.
Rachael Ray did say that "it was an extremely close vote," but the people have obviously spoken, and Symon seems to be their favorite son. His "Porky Burger" was pig on pig, made from pork and bacon, crowned with a hunk of pulled pork, and served with a side of pork cracklins.
Judges included Gail Simmons, Emeril Lagasse, Marc Murphy, and Food
Network's Susie Fogelson, who gave South Miami-based Whisk Gourmet Food
and Catering the "Golden Grill" award for having the highest quality
meat on the beach, and bestowed the "Best Dressed Burger" award upon Guy
Fieri, who topped his burger with a "bacon patty," a thick slice of
tomato, rojo onion rings and an oozing layer of "donkey sauce."
As usual, the lines were longer for celebuchefs, and we've never heard
the words "I love you! I watch you all the time!" muttered between
strangers quite that much, without a restraining order being issued.
Other Food Network darlings like Andrew Zimmern and Alex Guarnaschelli
roamed the tents with entourage, while esteemed chefs such as Jonathan
Waxman and our very own Allen Susser shook lots of hands and posed for
Now let's take a moment to memorialize the burgers from Miami's chefs
that didn't make the cut (just in case you are wondering who we thought
nailed it). Howie's "Luther Burger" with aged cheddar, was sandwiched
between two halves of a glazed donut bun, go Bulldog BBQ (a stoner's wet
dream). Timon Balloo from Sugarcane presented an "Asian Sensation,"
which translates as a tonkatsu glazed slider with shitake mushrooms and
caramelized onions, and had a gooey ball of cheese in the center that
literally melted in the mouth. Lastly, kudos to the Ritz-Carlton for hosting
the party once again and bringing their Mediterranean-themed lamb
burger with whipped feta and balsamic peppers to the tents. Chef Andrew
Balick was making certain each was cooked perfectly, not easy to do when those lines are long.