Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 1997

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 1997

Due to marketing decisions at Sutter Home, there was no cook-off held for the Build a Better Burger® competition. Instead, after the best recipes were selected, James McNair and his staff grilled, tasted, and ranked each burger in the author’s cookbook test kitchen. The Italian-inspired burger from veteran contester Susan Asanovic was the favorite.

In the press release from Sutter Home, James stated that “it was an extremely close call between the very creative and delicious top burgers this year, but Susan Asanovic’s Grand Prize winner edged out the competition with a perfectly seasoned patty encasing a molten nugget of fresh mozzarella served on grilled crusty rosemary Italian bread. I think that she should bottle her sweet-and-tangy spread of sun-dried tomatoes, fresh grapes, capers, and parsley.”


James McNair’s staff screened the entries and a panel of independent food experts assisted him in choosing eight non-regional finalists.


  • Grand Prize: Susan Asanovic, Wilton, Connecticut – Siciliano Burgers with Fresh Ciliegine and Sweet Tomato Butter
  • First Prize: Mary Lou Newhouse, South Burlington, Vermont – Jamaican Me Crazy Burgers
  • Second Prize: Gloria Piantek, Skillman, New Jersey – Cubana Pork Burgers

Other Finalists

  • Gina Bolles, Marietta, Georgia – Homestead “Ham”burgers
  • David Conwell, Fairhope, Alabama – Hot Beefy-Dog Burgers with Sweet-Hot Mustard
  • Mark Forbert, Pacifica, California – South of the Border Burgers
  • Bob Gadsby, Great Falls, Montana – Black Thai Beef Burgers with Sauteed Shiitakes
  • Edie Young, San Francisco, California – Garlic-Grilled Thai Turkey Burgers


James McNair

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners - 1996

Build a Better Burger

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners - 1996