Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Next Food Network Star Season 9, Episode 2, Burger Bash

This week's Next Food Network Star featured a Burger Bash modeled after the famous bashes held annually at the Wine and Food Festivals in New York and in South Beach. This year Chef Michael Symon, who had a three year winning streak on the go, was usurped by, none other than, judge Bobby Flay who won with his Green Chile Cheeseburgers - a recipe on my burger bucket list for the summer!

Click the link above to see the ingredients in his winning burger.

Photo Credit: Food Network
In today's episode each cook was tasked with creating a burger for 100 burger enthusiasts. They were then required to get up on stage to do a two minute presentation about their creation. At the end of the presentations, each person in the audience was given a token that they could use to taste the one burger they were most sold on.

The Burgers
  • Lovely: Ground Turkey Burger with Blue Cheese 
  • Chad: Memphis Barbecue Sandwich with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, Homemade Coleslaw, and a Fried Green Tomato 
  • Stacy: Baja Betty Burger with Chorizo, Beef, and Jalapeno Aioli
  • Nikki: Veggie Bang Burger
  • Rodney: Bison Pie Burger with Onion, Mushroom and Gruyere Cheese 
  • Danushka: Sliders with Chipotle Ketchup and Roasted Corn Salsa 
  • Andres: Cuban Style Burger with Ground Beef and Ground Pork
  • Viet Pham: Banh Mi Burger with Duck Fat Aioli and Savoury Mushroom Pate 
  • Russel:  Beef and Lamb Burger with Duck Fat, Sugar, Bacon and Bourbon 
  • Damaris: Lamb and Duck Fat Burger with Pimento Cheese
  • Chris: Korean Style Burger with Pickled Watermelon Rind

Viet Pham was up with the first presentation of the bash. Though nary a burger was prepared by him during "Battle Ground Meat" when he was on Iron Chef America, I was happy he took Alton Brown's advice and told the audience he beat Bobby on the show. It should also be noted that one of his winning recipes on Iron Chef was for beef fat ice cream, which though sounds horrific, was a dish the judges universally loved. I share this because I think it tells us something about Viet Pham and his creativity.

Like Pham; Chad, Stacy and Russell breezed through the challenge doing well with both presentation and taste - and I have to say, the fried green tomato on Chad's burger had me wanting to reach into the screen to take a bite! As a Canadian, I've never had a fried green tomato before and it's now on my barbecue bucket list to make to go on burgers this summer!

Blue cheese butter, on the other hand (the condiment on Lovely's burger), is something I probably won't be making. Though it sounds good on paper, any veteran with blue cheese will tell you a little goes a loooong way, and because we know Lovely goes big - both on flavour and personality - the blue cheese took over so that, though she rocked her presentation, she fell short on taste by overpowering her burger.

Damaris and Chris both tanked their presentations but managed to create good tasting burgers, while Nikki, who created a veggie burger with a little meat in, had  the judges and audience confused. All three judges found the burger bland, and Giada questioned her knowledge of vegetarian cooking altogether. This came as a surprise to myself - and to Nikki - who exclaimed "This wasn't in the game plan" to a disgruntled Danushka who growled back "It wan't in anyone's game plan."

And Danushka... is it wrong that I LOVE her?

Whether insulting her fellow contestants in private interviews, angrily exclaiming to the camera that, finally, people will get to see her true personality, or dissing large crowds with talk of her superior thinness - whatever Danushka does, much like a car wreck, I can't stop watching!

And I want more.

As an aside, I think she could take down Nadya at Bitchn Kitchen.

In the end, though, she was in the bottom three along with Nikki, and Andres who's food point of view: "I want to show young men that they can cook and it's as manly as growing a beard," wasn't quite what the Food Network was looking for.

And was sent home.

As for me, the entire episode left me craving a burger so tonight I put the fixins together for one of my Kitchen Witch signature burgers:

The Pineapple Aloha Burger.

Photo Credit: Lyndsay Wells

A jalapeno infused patty is topped with grilled pineapple, sweet barbecue sauce, and stuffed with a surprise  pineapple cream cheese center.

Photo Credit: Lyndsay Wells

Visit the printable recipe here: Pineapple Aloha Burger

Learn how to make it with my easy to follow step by step video!


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