Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 2001
The infamous events of September 11, only 2 weeks before the cook-off, caused everyone involved with BBB to question whether to go ahead with the event, especially after the two finalists from New Jersey and New York declined to attend. Sutter Home President Roger Trinchero issued a statement that while our hearts were sad, we felt it was our patriotic duty to go ahead with our plans to honor an American food icon.
For the first time, the cook-off moved from the St. Helena Victorian to the Trinchero Family Estates Zinfandel Ranch in the heart of the valley vineyard and was open to the public. Money raised from ticket sales and raffles went to Project Open Hand, a San Francisco-based organization that prepares food for homebound people living with HIV/AIDS as well as seniors and the critically ill.
The 1950s theme was established by rows of shiny classic cars of the era that flanked the entrance. Life-sized cutouts of 1950s carhops bearing trays of burgers graced the grounds of the cook-off and party area. As guests entered the gate, they received booklets containing the Grand Prize-winning recipes from BBB’s first ten years and drew tickets for prized slots on a panel that would later determine the People’s Choice winner. After the judging team of Napa Valley chefs completed their task, the contestants prepared a new round of burgers for the panel of guest Judges to sample. Although they didn’t agree on the winner, both judging panels favored burgers with Asian flavors. The professionals were wowed by the salmon burger created by Maui harpist Kristine Snyder, who has since continued her winning streak by nabbing top honors at the National Chicken Cook-Off and a category First Place at National Beef.
Meanwhile, guests assembled their own version of a better burger from the various patties, condiments, and toppings prepared by Chef Jeffrey Starr and his team. After indulging on burgers and a buffet of side dishes, many partygoers danced off the calories to the raucous sounds of Pride and Joy, a popular Bay Area band known for its Motown, soul, R&B, and pop dance music.
James McNair’s staff screened the recipes and a panel of independent food experts assisted him in choosing two finalists from each of five regions.
Heidi Schuler, Public Relations Coordinator, Sutter Home Winery
- Grand Prize: Kristine Snyder, Kihei, Hawaii – Soy-Glazed Salmon Burgers with Ginger Lime Aioli
- People’s Choice Award: Norma Molitor, Austin, Texas – Tamarind-Glazed Thai Burgers
- Patti Honda Blezard, Honolulu, Hawaii – Tuscan Turkey Burgers
- Joyce Bowman, Raleigh, North Carolina – Ranch-Hand Grilled Buffalo Burgers with Chipotle’n Honey Glaze and Corn’n Avocado Salsa
- Norma Fried, Denver, Colorado – Pastrami BagelBurgers with Quick ZinfanDills
- TerryAnn Moore, Oaklyn, New Jersey – Anytime Grilled Brunchburgers*
- L. Monique Porche-Smith, Canton, Georgia – Bayou Burgers with Balsamic Spinach Slaw
- Richard Rizzio, Traverse City, Michigan – Grilled Eggplant and Fennel Burgers with Tomato Tapenade
- Claudia Shepardson, Loudonville, New York – Green Mountain Burgers*
- Diane Sparrow, Osage, Iowa – Fruit of the Vine Burgers with California Relish
*Withdrew from the competition due to the events of September 11, 2001
James McNair, Head Judge