Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 1996
Blue tablecloths, white awnings, and red baseball caps added to the All-American theme of the cook-off. The aprons designed for the contestants and Judges were printed with a colorful painting of a burger cookout.
Lori Welander from Vermont trounced the male-dominated world of backyard grilling to become the first woman to win BBB. Describing her winning burger, the mega-contester told a reporter, “I went with a low-fat recipe, using low-fat mayonnaise combined with stronger flavors inspired by the Mulligatawny curried chicken soup.” Another key ingredient: the famous tart apples of Vermont. “I always try to incorporate the products of the regions I live in and learn from the local cuisine.” She carefully carried the apples to Napa Valley from Vermont, where her seven-year-old son had picked them the previous day.
In the press release announcing the winner, head judge James McNair stated, “The burgers at this year’s cook-off were more exotic than in the past, but they all were well executed and very tasty. It just goes to show what a little imagination can do with something as basic as the burger.”
International Association of Culinary Professionals President Flo Braker summed up her experience as a judge, “It was a spectacular event in every way. I loved the camaraderie, the delicious dinner, the wine, the contestants and their better burgers, and, of course, the glorious weather. We were indeed treated like royalty by a gracious team of professionals.”
For the second time, under James McNair’s direction, Melinda Pride screened the entries and chose seven regional finalists.
Christel Fouquet, Public Relations Assistant, Sutter Home Winery
- Grand Prize: Lori Welander, Shelburne, Vermont – Mulligatawny Burgers
- First Prize: Lloyd Roczniak, Rochester, Minnesota – Fresh Salmon Burgers with Lemon-Cilantro Mayonnaise
- Second Prize: Edwina Gatsby, Great Falls, Montana – Casablanca Burgers with Citrus-Olive Relish and Harissa Aioli
- Award for Creativity: Julie Winter, Grosse Point Park, Michigan – Indian Burgers with Grilled Banana Raita
- Joyce Bowman, Raleigh, North Carolina – Bimbukuu Groundnut Burgers with Black Bean Salsa
- Connie Emerson, Reno, Nevada – Casbah Burgers with Moroccan Mint Sauce
- Paula McHargue, Richmond, Kentucky – Olympic Burgers with Georgia Peach Salsa
James McNair, Head Judge
Anthony Dias Blue
Jennifer Crutcher Wilkinson