Alvin Cailan is on a quest to find the best burger in America. That’s no easy task. America is a land with a vast burger culture that ebbs and flows across the better part of a continent. Besides that, a burger is never just one thing. It’s the representation of decades, sometimes centuries of migration across oceans and land. It’s a foreign food that’s gone through so many iterations that it feels fully “ours.”
For Cailan, the sandwich has always been a passion project. In 2011, the chef stormed the world food stage with his food truck and now international chain Eggslut. The humble breakfast spot changed the game when it came to executing a simple, delicious egg sandwich. Then came Amboy and The Usual — one a testament to Cailan’s Filippino roots, the other a love letter to the foods Cailan loves most in New York City.
When launching The Usual, Cailan knew he’d want to do a burger. While his rise to international prominence started in the kitchen, he’s been exploring his burger obsession online for years now. Cailan started hosting First We Feast’s The Burger Show on YouTube in early 2018 and is about to launch the fifth season of the series today, September 24th. Meanwhile, he was tapped as the chef for the very well-received Good Burger pop-up in LA.
All things considered, this felt like the perfect time to reach out to the chef to talk about the best burgers in America.
Dude, I’m stoked that the next season of The Burger Show is coming up. I think I’ve watched every episode twice. I really excited to talk about some great burgers.
I’d like to start in Chicago. You hit up Chicago last season and the burgers from Small Cheval and Au Cheval got surpassed by the new Dirt Burger from The Loyalist. Can you break down the difference between those burgers?
You know, I’ve had Au Cheval a few times and I think it’s a really good burger. Most burgers that I really favor have something that’s like an “x-factor” that really makes the burger shine and almost inspires me. It’ll make me want to cook a burger and try to emulate it.