Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 1993

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 1993

Public demand persuaded Sutter Home to revive the Build a Better Burger® contest for the summer of 1993, and it again proved an immensely successful promotion, garnering not only multitudes of grocery displays but also widespread coverage in newspaper and magazine food columns across the country.

Stan Hock, Sutter Home’s publicity director, contracted James McNair to continue as head judge of the burger contest, to secure the other Judges, and to be the food spokesperson for all things related to food for the winery. James produced a colorful contest promotional brochure, featuring images from his recently published James McNair’s Burgers. $100 bills lined the plate used for the cover burger and the back of the brochure offered a special coupon for ordering the book, which contained recipes of the winners of the first two cook-offs. The brochure generated over 3,000 entries.

That year, twelve finalists competed for the prize money, while over 200 guests gathered beneath the big tent to sip Sutter Home wines and sample more conventional burgers. Everyone relished the music of the jazz-fusion group Fatburger (no, this is not a pun!) and awaited the results of the Judges.

Robert Allen, a 76-year-old grandfather, grabbed the big prize with one of the simplest burgers in BBB’s history. The Judges, each bedecked in white aprons printed with a design of big red chiles, were impressed by the purity of flavors and the unusual use of grilled jicama, which none of them had ever seen before. The late Barbara Tropp announced that grilled jicama would be added to the menu at her China Moon Cafe in San Francisco the next day.

In typical Trinchero family style, Sutter Home combined the recipe contest with raising funds for Second Harvest, a national network of 185 local food banks that annually distribute more than 600 million pounds of surplus and donated food to the needy. During the awards ceremony, Sutter Home and its distributors contributed $50,000 to the charity.


Under the direction of City Marketing agency in San Francisco, Lori Lynn Narlock headed a panel of independent food experts to assist her in choosing twelve regional finalists.

Event Manager

Lori Lynn Narlock for City Marketing


  • Grand Prize: Robert Allen, Port Townsend, Washington – Gingered-Beef Burgers
  • First Prize: Diane Lentz, Nicholasville, Kentucky – Peppered Jamaican “Jerk” Burgers Normandy
  • Second Prize: Caryl Welsh, Clarksville, Maryland – Choucroute Burgers with Green Apple Salsa
  • Third Prize: Janet Steck, Cortland, New York – Tuscan Burgers with Bruschetta
  • Award for Creativity: Robert Anzovino – Beijing Burgers

Other Finalists*

  • Linda Ackerman – Blackberry Wine Burgers
  • Susan Asanovic, Wilton, Connecticut – Four-Chile Fiesta Burgers with Cool Tomatillo Salsa
  • Gloria Bradley, Naperville, Illinois – Greek Burgers with Tomato-Cucumber Relish
  • Karen Davis – Chorizo Burgers
  • Janice Elder, Charlotte, North Carolina – Smoked Salmon Burgers with Roasted Corn Salsa
  • Porter Lansing, Englewood, Colorado – Burgers DiMedici
  • Theodore Skiba, Tequesta, Florida – Green Peppercorn Duck Burgers

*The hometowns and states of two of the 1993 finalists are missing from Sutter Home’s files. For the record, if you know that information, please contact BBB, Sutter Home Family Vineyards, P.O. Box 248, St. Helena, CA 94574.


James McNair, Head Judge
Marion Cunningham
Anne Rosenzweig
Chris Schlesinger
Roger Trinchero
Barbara Tropp
John Willoughby

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners - 1992

Build a Better Burger

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners - 1992