South Beach Wine & Food Festival

SoBeWFF Burger Bash: Michael Symon's Three-Peat

View photos of Burger Bash at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach here.

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

many pictures.

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.

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