Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 2000

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 2000

“California’s Napa Valley is renowned for fine wine and haute cuisine, so when five of the nation’s most renowned food personalities gather (along with a Napa Valley winery chef) to judge a recipe contest cook-off, the featured food must be . . . burgers?” The Sutter Home press release for the first Build a Better Burger® contest of the new century poked a bit of fun at the upscale wining and dining experiences for which Napa Valley is known. It also announced that the Grand Prize for the cook-off had been doubled in honor of the new century and in celebration of the contest’s tenth anniversary.

An all-white scheme added elegance to the Victorian garden setting for the five competitive cooks and invited guests.

Normally not a big fan of fish burgers, head judge James McNair’s palate was easily won over by Jamie Miller’s tropical tuna burgers. Most of his fellow Judges agreed and the wine sales consultant from Minnesota was awarded the $20,000 Grand Prize.


James McNair’s staff screened the recipes and a panel of independent food experts assisted him in choosing five regional finalists.

Event Manager

Heidi Schuler, Public Relations Coordinator, Sutter Home Winery


  • Grand Prize: Jamie Miller, Maple Grove, Minnesota – Hawaiian Tuna Burgers with Maui Wowee Salsa

Other Finalists

  • Steve Bradley, Bolingbrook, Illinois – Asiago Pine Nut Burgers with Smokey Aioli
  • Mary Louise Lever, Rome, Georgia – Shogun Char-Grilled Beef Burgers
  • Frank Rodriquez, Houston, Texas – Vintner’s Burgers Provençal
  • Claudia Shepardson, Loudonville, New York – Roquefort Lamb Burgers with Grilled Pears


James McNair, Head Judge
Bruce Aidells
Marion Cunningham
Sheila Lukins
Arthur Schwartz
Jeffrey Starr

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners - 1999

Build a Better Burger

Build a Better Burger Contest Winners - 1999