In the 2013 World Burger Championship, Wade Fortin (the 2013 winner), was required to use A1 Steak Sauce in his burger recipe. The A1 was that year’s “infused” ingredient — the mystery ingredient each cook had to incorporate.
Here is Fortin’s El Toro Burger, staring A1 Steak Sauce. Using a ribeye and steak mixture, Fortin created a compound-butter-stuffed Chihuahua cheeseburger with candied bacon and crunchy, A1 fried onions. It was finished off with a drizzle of a port wine reduction and a smear of horseradish aioli.
[DEC. 2014] For the second time in a row Wade Fortin, of Second City Smoke, won the World Burger Championship, this November in Las Vegas.
In addition, Fortin placed second (a scant fraction behind the winner) at the Final Table, a cook-off between the winners of each of the nine events at the World Food Championships.
To reach the top, Fortin and his Second City Smoke teammate, Andrew Wiegand, had to out cook 47 competitors in two rounds of burger making. Averaged scores from both rounds yielded the world’s top three burger champs.
World Burger Championship Winners
1st — After a stellar start (first place for his signature burger) and a strong final round (second place), Wade Fortin, took the win with a final score of 86.508 (out of 100 possible).
2nd — The Beefy Boys, a competition team from Herefordshire, UK won second. Just making the 10th place cut to move on to the finals, the team’s win skyrocketed them into their final 2nd place position (85.391).
3rd — Cypress Street Pint & Plate, a neighborhood pub in Atlanta, won third. Anchored by Ryan Crocker, Cypress Street held steady in the first two rounds and scored well with their last burger, for an overall score of 84.708.
How Fortin Won
Because Fortin took home last year’s World Burger title, he automatically cooked in the 2014 event. More than 40 other competitors had to qualify for the Las Vegas event by winning a qualifying regional burger cook off. Once at the championship, in Round One, all teams cooked two burgers–their signature burger and a “structured burger” where all cooks had to create a burger from the same set of ingredients.
Signature Build — Simply Perfect In a radio interview, Fortin said his strategy focused on simplicity and the burger itself. His goal was a perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned burger. Fortin scored a 95 in the first round—mere points from his goal of perfect.
Structured Build — Southwest Style In the structured build, competitors had to create a burger using ingredients found in the kitchen at a Red Robin. Fortin went southwest. Burger toppings included an avocado aioli, fried tortilla strips, glazed bacon and a roasted corn pico de gallo.
After the two burgers, the with the highest average score moved on to the finals. Though Fortin dipped to 19th place in the Red Robin round, his strong signature burger sent him into the finals with the top average score of 89.1875.
Handsome Honey In this round, competitors had to feature honey in their burger. Wanting to hit the judges with honey, Fortin created the “El Guapo” — a ribeye cheeseburger stuffed with chipotle honey. More honey came with honey glazed peppered bacon, fried onions dusted with honey powder, honey BBQ aioli, and a honey-kissed Brioche bun. The burger also had spicy quick pickles. The El Guapo, scored second in this round, just under The Beefy Boys.
Fortin scored an 84.722 in the honey round. This, with his first round score, gave Fortin an overall average of 86.508, enough for Fortin to claim his second World Burger Championship title.
[Nov 15, 2014 — Las Vegas] After two rounds of cooking, ten finalists, from a field of 47, move to the last round of the World Burger Championship. The event is part of the annual Word Food Championships (WFC).
The burger competition consists of three rounds. In round one, contestants cook their signature burger. Round two “separates the contenders from the pretenders by forcing everyone to create their own spin on the same basic dish,” said a WFC spokesperson. Round three is the final battle between the top ten teams for the title of World Burger Champion.
To qualify to cook at the Vegas event, teams (both professional and amateur chefs) had to win qualifying regional cook offs, or be extended a special invitation by the World Food Championships. This year, a “Tastemaker’s Choice” invitation went to Mark Bucher and Red Cow, in Minneapolis.
The World Burger Championship is one of ten championship battles in this year’s World Food Championships. Along with burgers, categories include: barbecue, chili, sandwich, dessert, bacon, pasta, seafood, recipe and a Chef Challenge.
The 2014 World Burger finals will be held Sunday, Nov. 16. Bon Chance to all!