South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Burger Bash Sneak Peek at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach

As the host chef of South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Burger Bash, Thomas Connell has a leg up on the competition. Not only are all of the 27 burgers in contention prepared on-site at his kitchen at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach, but he also helps the contestants with their culinary needs. As the executive chef of the hotel, Connell has participated in the Burger Bash since its inception four years ago. His previous entries were a tempura burger, pretzel burger and empanada burger.

While Connell has yet to win the Burger Bash, he feels

confident about this year's competition. "I want to beat everybody." That

includes Top Chef's Spike Mendelsohn,

who snagged the top honor last year, and is competing again this year. However,

the real winners are the guests of the Burger Bash, who get to sample all of

the gourmet patties.

Ritz-Carlton South Beach

1 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

786-276-4000

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