Culinary Fight Club 2016: The Blended Burger Battle in San Diego, California
Chef Bobby Mariner of Viejas Casino,
Chef Cheryl Cruz of Loft 94 and Beer Garden,
and Chef Alexis Rangel of Svante's Restaurant.
During the mad dash, similar to what you might have seen in a show called, “Cutthroat Kitchen”, a bottle of molasses became an unfortunate casualty. You can almost hear a bugle softly playing Taps as the jar’s sticky, sweet goodness bled out onto the pavement.
Tommy Gomes, fishmonger extraordinaire, from Catalina Offshore Products, was the second judge. Chef Bobby procured the shrimp from him.
And finally there was Chef Jeffrey Roberto of Sushi on a Roll. He kindly lent his location for the event along with Chef Keoni Simmons to help coordinate the logistics. As a teenager, he apprenticed with the first Japanese sushi bar in San Diego. His knife and hand skills are masterful. You’ll need to come to SOAR one day to watch him work.
- Chef Alexis Rangel: Execution – 9, Appearance – 8, Taste – 7 (Notes: Beef mixture was overworked resulting in a tough burger patty. Burger needed a creamy sauce or cheese.)
- Chef Cheryl Cruz: Execution – 9, Appearance – 10, Taste – 9 (Notes: Beef mixture was perfectly blended and had an Asian flavor profile similar to what you might see in Hawaii. Very juicy. The presentation was beautiful! Definitely up to par for World Food Championships. Since her dish was finished after the final whistle blew, she received penalty points.)
- Chef Bobby Mariner: Execution – 8, Appearance – 8, Taste – 9 (Notes: Surf and Turf profile was a great idea. Shrimp were cooked perfectly with a nice snap. The tomato bacon jam was a great idea for flavor and sauce but it overtook the dish. Mushrooms were not detectable in the meat, but I know they were in there. Presentation could use more color like green leaf lettuce either on top or underneath burger to make it pop.)
- Chef Tom Logsdon: Execution – 10, Appearance – 9, Taste – 10 (Notes: This is one of the best burgers I have ever had! It was juicy and hit all of the flavor notes I was looking for. Presentation could have been better by using a nicer plate.)