"Last year it was pastrami. This year it's salami. It's meat on meat, baby!" is what Michael Symon had to say last night as he accepted his second consecutive People's Choice Award at last night's Burger Bash.
We can't say the result was a surprise. Though lines stretched to mid-tent for Morimoto, Shake Shack, Umami Burger, Good Stuff Eatery (Spike Mendelsohn), and Michael's Genuine, we waited a whopping 20 minutes to get to the front of the B Spot line, only to discover that the holdup was mostly attributed to demand for photos with the ever-smiling Symon.
His winning concoction was the Yo! Burger draped with the same ShaSha sauce he used last year, but featuring fried salami, provolone and a pickled onion on this go-round. The sauce also won an award from Heinz for Best Condiment. Other winners included Burger & Beer Joint for its truffle baked potato salad, and Landmarc's Mark Murphy took home an award for his creativity with "The Big Marc:" an all-beef burger on a black pepper and cheddar bun with spiked ketchup and pickles.
Judges included Todd English, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, and Art Smith, but we also spotted Ted Allen and Gail Simmons enjoying the meat locker, while Jason Taylor also made a quick pass. Rumors of a certain Mr. Bourdain circulating throughout the tent also spread, but our cameras couldn't catch him. Here are some highlights:
Michael Schwartz gives Anne Burrell something to make her hair stand up.
Rachel Ray needed a hefty team of black-suited bodyguards to keep her away from the "dangerous," flesh-eating crowd while she bit into each of the 26 burgers.
Damn -- that girl gets sassy when she doesn't get enough iron.
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Tim Love's elk burgers with huckleberry jam and foie gras were a huge hit with our tasting team. We're not afraid to admit we made him dance for our vote, though.
Jacques Torres indulged in a few bites of beef while FIU students dished out flourless chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies at his booth.