Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 1996

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.

Event Manager

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

Other Finalists

  • 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
Flo Braker
Zanne Stewart
Bob Trinchero
Jennifer Crutcher Wilkinson

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners - 1995

Build a Better Burger

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners - 1995