Life

Famous Chefs Tell Us Where They Ate The Best Burgers Of Their Lives


Nothing gets the yelling started like throwing out a hot take on a much loved (or hated) food. If you doubt me, why don’t you listen to me defend green pea guacamole without blurting out incoherent screams of dissent? Okay, I can’t really defend pea-guac, but you get the point. The more certain you are that a food must be universally agreed upon, the more the internet would like to undermine your certainty.

The hamburger — famous around the world — is certainly in the top tier of “foods we love to fight over.”The use of mayo inspires violence on both sides of the discussion. Ketchup is hotly contested. Even the patties themselves can bring people to blows. (Anyone who’s ever watched a cooking show knows the type of meat used and the fat ratios are critical to making the perfect burger.)

Instead of burger brawling, why not turn to famous chefs and let them point us toward the best burgers in the country? Sure, you can scream yourself hoarse with the full force of your righteous food opinions, but maybe we can at least use the people who have dedicated their entire adult lives to cuisine as a jumping off point?

Chef Oscar Cabezas – Executive chef, Teleferic Barcelona

My favorite burger can be found at the NoMad Bar in New York City. The burger is a dry-aged patty and bone marrow with cheddar cheese and a thin disk of sweet onion. Of course, the burger comes with pickles and fries on the side. For me, the burger is the perfect size, and the quality of the ingredients and texture of the meat are spectacular. Above all else, my favorite thing is that the burger is simple and delicious. I am a firm believer that less is more.

Chef Rick Moonen — Owner and chef, rm seafood and Rx Boiler Room

I love Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, near my restaurants rm seafood and Rx Boiler Room at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place. My good friend Hubert Keller is behind these top-notch burgers. I like the salmon burger, and my wife Roni orders her burgers protein style. They have an over-the-top burger featuring Kobe-style wagyu beef, foie gras, and shaved truffles, which is great if you want to impress your friends. A

nd don’t forget the fat or skinny french fries…you even have the option to try zucchini fries.

Chef Garrett Pittler — Executive chef, City Winery Nashville

Five Guys has the best classic burger. It’s simple, made with real ingredients, cooked to order but fast, and it’s exactly what I crave when I want a no-frills American burger. Paired with the fries — fries, by the way, should always be served hot and spilling out of a greasy paper bag — it’s the perfect meal and you’ll never walk away hungry.

Chef Scott Conant — Chef, owner, and restauranteur, The Ponte, among others

You know what? Geoffrey Zakarian made me a burger at The Lamb’s Club one time that blew my mind. It was so simple, again, super simple. He just seared it really hard on a cast-iron pan, toasted the bun with the juices from the meat, a little special sauce, you know the special sauce? And it was awesome. It was awesome.

Chef Anne Marie Damaso — Co-owner and executive chef, Sweet COMBforts

If you’re a burger lover and haven’t tried Pig Pen Delicacy, then, get ready; I’m about to rock your world! When you go to Pig Pen (located in Irvine, CA), you have to get my all-time favorite burger, the Maple Bacon Jam Burger! It starts off with a brioche bun (delivered fresh daily); it’s toasted and dressed with their house made chive aioli sauce. They use an all-beef patty that’s seared on a flat-top grill that gives the burger a great caramelization. It’s paired with melted Swiss, a very distinctive yet mellow cheese. But my favorite thing about the burger is that it’s topped with bacon jam! It’s rendered down bacon, sautéed onions, reduced with vinegar, syrup and other spices. My mouth is literally salivating just thinking about it! Finally, they top it off with fried onion strings, dress it with more chive aioli sauce and wait…yup, you guessed it, a fried egg! Best Burger ever!

Chef Andrew Gruel — Chef and owner, Slapfish, Butterleaf, Two Birds

The best burger I have ever consumed was at a hole-in-the-wall “joint” in Logan, Utah (outside Salt Lake City) called Pace’s Drive-In. The burger was made by a 14 (ish) year-old girl on an old, heavily-seasoned cast iron flat top griddle. The burger consisted of 2 juicy patties smothered in melted sharp cheddar cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise, and dill pickle slices. The juices from the meat mixed with the mayo, pickle, and ketchup in every bite and made its own special sauce as the burger shook in my hands. Gulp.

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