Build a Better Burger Contest Winners – 2014
As the official BBQ and grilling season kicked off, Sutter Home’s rock-star panel of judges tasted five juicy burgers during Sutter Home’s Build a Better Burger’s 24th Annual Cook-Off in St. Helena, California against a backdrop of vineyards and sunny skies.
This year’s panel of judges was moderated by Laura Werlin, one of the country’s foremost authorities on cheese. She is the award-winning author of six books on the subject, is a sought-after speaker and spokesperson for consumer and trade organizations, and is a frequent television and radio guest.
Harrison Wheeler from Boynton Beach, Florida was crowned the $25,000 grand prize winner with his flavorful Heart & Seoul of Korea Burger topped with a peanut basil slaw and gochujang mayonnaise.
Laura Werlin, Build a Better Burger Emcee, noted after sampling the burger during judging, “Now THIS, I want to order in a restaurant.” The judges agreed.
Cristen Clark commented on the unusual ingredient, “Who would have thought Spam would be good in a burger – but just the right amount of texture and salt to complete the burger. It paired perfectly with the deep dark Sutter Home Zinfandel.” Chef Rusty Hamlin from Louisiana was a fan of the spice, noting, “Of all the burgers this one had the most flavor – goes straight to my roots of liking that heat! The flavor lingered until the next burger came out.” Tracy Benjamin said she “loved the crunch of the peanuts.” Celebrity Chef Eric Greenspan tasted the Heart & Seoul of Korea burger, which was next to last, and noted, “The next burger better be dope – or we have a winner.” He was right.
“It was fun creating this recipe, and I am thrilled that the judges enjoyed my burger creation,” noted Grand Prize Winner, Harrison Wheeler, “I love wine, and I am a self-proclaimed foodie, so it was an honor to have the opportunity to compete in Sutter Home’s recipe contest.”
The panel of judges named the Whistler Village Poutine Burger from Ann Elkina of Farmington Hills, Michigan as the Runner-Up Burger and $15,000 prize winner. Werlin called it “Onion Soup Fondue in Burger Form.” Greenspan commented, “I really tasted the meat. This one stayed true to ‘I’m just a burger.” Judge Dr. Sharon Ufberg, added, “I liked the pairing with the Sutter Home Chardonnay – It was perfect and I didn’t expect it.”
Leading up to the cook-off, Sutter Home consumers and burger fans across the nation voted for their favorite burger and named the Chorizo Beef burger submitted by Pricilla Yee of Concord, California, this year’s $10,000 People’s Choice Winner. Chef Rusty, again the spice fan said, “Who doesn’t love Chorizo with that Southwest kick in it?” Clark noted, “The combination of the orange and the burger made the wine pop.” Upon hearing the great news, Yee commented, “I am extremely humbled and thankful.”
A Culinary Review Panel selected their favorites. The panel met as a group and narrowed the favorites down to 5 beef burgers.
Cook-Off Event Manager
Michele Ashby, Marketing Event Manager, Sutter Home Winery
- Grand Prize & $25,0000 Winner: Heart & Seoul of Korea Burger from Harrison Wheeler from Boynton Beach, Florida
- Grand Prize People’s Choice Award: Chorizo Beef burger submitted by Pricilla Yee of Concord, California
- Grand Prize First Runner-Up & $15,000 Prize Winner: Whistler Village Poutine Burger from Ann Elkina of Farmington Hills, Michigan
- People’s Choice & $10,000 Winner: Chorizo Beef burger submitted by Pricilla Yee of Concord, California
- Rusty Hamlin: The executive chef for the Zac Brown Brand and host of the renowned pre-concert catered party, the “Eat & Greet.”
- Eric Greenspan: A recognized chef and owner of 3 top LA Restaurants who has competed on Celebrity Cutthroat Kitchen and Iron Chef America.
- Cristen Clark: Last year’s Sutter Home Build a Better Burger® Recipe Contest Best Alternative Burger Winner with the $15,000 Sour Apple Pork Burger.
- Dr. Sharon Ufberg: A lifestyle journalist who writes for various print and online publications about women, wellness, music and wine.
- Tracy Benjamin: Founder of the fun and colorful blog, Shutterbean.