Battle of the Burger a.k.a. my first Sous Chef experience

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So as I mentioned yesterday, the Executive Chef at my job asked me to be one of his Sous Chefs for the Battle of the Burger, hosted by Boston Magazine.  Eighteen of the city’s best burgers under one roof, with 1,000 attendees to judge and vote for the winner.  Can I cook for it without any restaurant experience? I figured this would be a great way to find out if I could ever really work in a restaurant, or if I should maybe hone my skills and take a cooking class or two in hopes of maybe opening my own place one day.

I started my day by helping prep. I figured I might as well look the part:

burgerbattle3

Then it was time to get to work. I started prepping olives while Chuy, the other Sous, chopped some parsley and made burgers (not gonna lie, he did most of the prepping.  Being a home chef means I don’t normally move too fast in the kitchen, but the guys were understanding and helpful).

burgerbattle4 burgerbattle1

I really did to a lot of olives though.

Or at least, a decent amount.

Or at least, a decent amount.

After we prepped, we headed to the venue, the BlackFalcon Pier in South Boston. We set up our station:

which had a nice board explaining the burger to attendees

which had a nice board explaining the burger to attendees

I set up my mise en place

it was so pretty before the chaos began

it was so pretty before the chaos began

and then we got to work.  We made about 600 burgers. My job was to top the burgers with a greek style salad and the Tzatziki sauce (see description below).

burgerbattle8 burgerbattle10

That's me, putting the salad on top of the lamb burger, and Chef Antonio, looking somewhat happy with my job

That’s me, putting the salad on top of the lamb burger, and Chef Antonio, looking somewhat happy with my job

I have to say, the hours melted by.  I had a blast! It was a rush, and at the time I was feeling pretty sweaty while plating those salads on the burgers, but I was incredibly focused on getting every burger done and looking great.  I felt like I was on Top Chef, guys.  We all know that’s my dream.

The burgers came out pretty great, also.  Fresh ground lamb sliders topped with homemade Tzatziki and a salad of shredded romaine, tomatoes, feta, olives, onion and parsley on top.  Yes, that was hard to get that salad to stay put on the burger, but I think we pulled it off.

Look how pretty these burgers turned out

Look how pretty these burgers turned out

Chef Antonio said he was happy with my work as well, and would be willing to give me some more pointers around the kitchen.  Score.

I totally deserved one of the beers given to us by the Amstel Light sponsors

I totally deserved one of the beers given to us by the Amstel Light sponsors

Since this was a competition, however, I totally had The Russian running around trying out the burgers for me while I worked.  When there was a bit of a lull, he brought me around to the stalls he liked the best so I could try some of the best burgers at the battle.

Here were some of our faves (other than the lamb burger, of course):

burgerbattletrade1

The Trade burger from Trade.  Nice pickle, guys, and the burger was really well cooked.  Simple and tasty.  They also had burger shaped macaroons. Clever.

and very cute.

and very cute.

The Vermonster from Boston Burger Company.  The apple slaw and bacon brought it home.

sweet, but not overpowering

sweet, but not overpowering

I was excited that I got to try Shake Shack’s burger also.  It was really awesome, just a perfect simple burger made well.

burgerbattleshake

The BBQ burger from Joe’s American Bar & Grill  was also really nice, and they put pork belly on their burger.  Pork belly.  Way to think it through, guys.  They were a popular choice, and placed in the top three of the competition.

burgerbattlejoes

The Russian also loved the burger from Tommy Doyle’s, and I liked the blue cheese on the burger and the slice spice from the jalepeno.

burgerbattletommy

I also loved that it was called the corky pig

So, overall, I had a kickass time last night, and I hope this is the start of my culinary experience on the restaurant side of things.  Top Chef, here I come.

-L

 

 

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