With dozens of flaming-hot grills set up in the sand, hundreds of hungry guests filling the tents and a cool ocean breeze wafting through the air, the scene was set for South Beach Wine & Food Festival‘s most-anticipated event: the ninth annual Burger Bash. In true festival fashion, your favorite Food Network stars, as well as local and national chefs, delivered a whopping 30 burgers in over-the-top form, each piled high with classic and creative toppings. Once again, Burger Bash veteran Rachael Ray was on hand to host the sold-out soiree as familiar faces like Iron Chefs Jose Garces and Masaharu Morimoto came together to cook up signature between-the-bun offerings and judges Geoffrey Zakarian, Katie Lee and Chrissy Teigen, among others, welcomed the meaty challenge of sampling every burger and deciding which reigned supreme.
While the judges dug into their burger offerings, fans, too, were bellying up to chefs’ tasting stands to get their hands on some of the most-craveworthy bites of the night, including Shake Shack’s Roadside Shack, Emily’s Emmy Burger and STK Miami’s lil’ BRGs. Everyone was given one token upon entering the event, and with that came the power to vote for the People’s Choice winner.
After a few hours of indulgent burgering, Rachael, the judges, and the Schweid and Sons team came together to announce the winners, and sure enough, thanks to his fail-proof Bash Burger, Josh Capon of Miami’s Lure Fish Bar earned the Judges’ trophy this year. Capon’s now-infamous patty topped with sweet, savory and welcomingly rich bacon-onion jam has become a good-luck charm of sorts for the chef, as it’s earned him several Burger Bash titles at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, and tonight it clinched his first-ever victory in South Beach. “I’ve always wanted South Beach so bad, baby. So bad,” Capon exclaimed on stage. “Burger Bash forever!”
First-time winner Pincho Factory, a Miami-based restaurant, scored this year’s People’s trophy, as guests spoke loud and clear that its Croquetesa (pictured above), featuring a three-meat patty blend, plus gooey Swiss, mustard and mayo toppings, was the best of the Bash.
FN Dish was on hand at the Bash, and we caught up with Marc Murphy, no stranger to culinary competition, of course, as a regular — and fierce — judge on Chopped. For him, the ultimate burger is simply one that keeps you coming back for more. “The good burger means you take a bite and you want to take another bite,” he explained. “It’s got to be well-balanced. It’s got to have enough flavor, but it’s got to have enough of relief in the flavor, where I always say a nice, fresh crack of a pickle in there somewhere, or something that says, ‘OK, aah.'”
The competing chefs indeed delivered on those essential elements and more, especially STK Miami, which showcased its lil’ BRGs (pictured above) that left you wanting a second helping. Made with Wagyu beef and topped with a “special sauce,” these satisfying sliders were served with crispy yet pillowy two-cheese Tater Tots.
When it comes to next-level decadence, perhaps no one delivered quite like Prime One Twelve; not only did they present a Wagyu patty with bacon and cheddar (pictured above), but it was slathered with a hefty topping of truffled macaroni and cheese.
Last year’s Judges’ Choice recipient, Shake Shack, brought its Roadside Shack (pictured above) with caramelized onions and bacon to the seashore, and like Prime One Twelve, they offered hungry fans a monster full-size burger. Instead of rounding out their patties with fries, Shake Shack scooped up a creamy Coconut Tres Leches Frozen Custard finished with crushed cookies for welcome texture.
Shake Shack wasn’t the only stand dishing out sweet treats: Food Network’s own cake connoisseur Duff Goldman surprised fans with not one but two milkshakes, an Old-Fashioned Chocolate Malted Shake (pictured above) and a Creamsicle Shake, both dressed up with fluffy whipped cream.
Keep coming back to FN Dish all weekend long for more insider coverage of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
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