Hundreds of hamburger lovers stampeded onto the parking lot of in Brentwood on Thursday to take part in a burger cook-off that organizers hope will become an annual event. Participants sipped on complimentary Schlafly beer as they sampled the creations of six local chefs and cast their votes for their favorite burger.
The event was sponsored by Feast magazine and Rain Crow Ranch—suppliers of the grass-fed beef sold at Whole Foods Market and used in the competition. The chefs made the most of the quality meat with six gourmet burgers sure to please any lover of America's favorite sandwich.
Chef Clara Moore of Local Harvest Café in St. Louis said her secret was the use of butter, while Chef Cary McDowell—of Winslow's Home in University City—cooked his burgers laced with onions over hard wood and served on a soft bun with white barbecue sauce.
Chef Nicholas Miller from Richmond Heights said his thicker burger allowed more room to keep the juiciness inside, but across the sampling area, Chef Grace Dinsmoor of Modesto Tapas Bar and Restaurant kept to the tapas style and created deep-fried Spanish style mini-burger croquetas served on her own Spanish coca flat bread.
Not to be outdone, Chef Chris Drummond of Whole Foods Market in Brentwood created the Moody Burger, a burger topped with rich bleu cheese and caramelized onions. Chef Kristopher Janikof of in Webster Groves pulled out all the stops with his burgers topped with Caveman bleu cheese and a fried egg.
The long line of patient party goers curved around into a parking aisle as Swing DeVille entertained with its blend of western swing, bluegrass and jazz. Guests sampled the creations and cast their vote for the winner.
A second winner was chosen by Catherine Neville, publisher of Feast Magazine, and members of the Whisnant family, owners of Rain Crow Ranch and purveyors of American grass-fed beef.
As the burger cook-off came to a close, the winning chefs were announced: Cary McDowell of Winslow's Home & Farm in University City, chosen by attendees, and Clara Moore of Local Harvest Café in St. Louis, chosen by Neville and Rain Crow Farm, shared the honors. The winning chefs received $500 for their favorite charity, and one lucky attendee won a Weber outdoor grill.
One snafu: The line was put on hold because of the unexpectedly large crowd, but disappointed fans received gift certificates by Whole Foods. Eventually, most were admitted, though some stands had run out of burgers.