WASHINGTON -- 10 chefs. 2,500-3,000 hamburgers. 3 hours.
Let the first D.C. Burger Battle begin!
On June 30, the patio at Poste Moderne Brasserie will be taken over by Washingtonians who love burgers so much that they're willing to shell out $75 to try 10 of D.C.'s best -- and help out a great local cause.
Yes, the Burger Battle is about much more than just good food. It's the brainchild of Paul Dahm, executive director of Brainfood, a D.C.-based nonprofit that teaches students "life skills through food and cooking," Dahm explained to The Huffington Post.
The organization's latest initiative is a six-week CSA -- the Brainfood Box -- that's half produce (from a garden near Mount Vernon Square), half prepared foods from a kitchen manned by teenage chefs. (Some spots are still open for the $200 summer CSA.)
"The goal for the Burger Battle is to be the seed funding for this effort," Dahm says. "It's about putting young people to work."
Fifteen Brainfood youth advocates run the Brainfood Box program; the student-chefs learn everything from food preparation and gardening to Business 101 and marketing. Any high school student attending a D.C. public school or public charter school is eligible to apply.
The Burger Battle was born as an off-shoot of Brainfood's annual grill-off. Along with Mark Kuller (of Proof and Estadio) and Poste's Dennis Maron, Dahm came up with the idea of "the perfect Sunday afternoon summertime event" that embraces one of the District's top food trends: hamburgers.
Ten chefs, seven of whom have worked on previous Brainfood projects, will compete for the title of King or Queen of the Grill:
- Dennis Marron – Poste
- Teddy Folkman – Granville Moore’s
- Scott Drewno - The Source
- Haidar Karoum – Proof/Estadio/Doi Moi
- Victor Albisu – Taco Bamba/Del Campo
- Kyle Bailey – Birch & Barley/GBD
- Anthony Chittum – Iron Gate
- Todd Wiss – Firefly
- Marjorie Meek-Bradley – Ripple
- Andrew Dixon – Mad Fox Brewing Co.
When you get a group of chefs like this together, what will happen?
"We encourage good-natured trash talking, get the rivalries going," Dahm says. "These folks are generally pretty competitive [and] looking an opportunity to show off in front of their peers... That's what makes it fun."
At the end of the event, three chefs will be crowned a winner. Each attendee has the opportunity to choose a 'people's choice' winner; a second winner will be chosen by the other chefs (no voting for yourself!); and the final winner, chosen by a panel of beverage experts.
The trophy? A giant engraved spatula, of course.
If $75 seems a little steep for a few hamburgers, take to Twitter. Two tweeters will each win a pair of free tickets to the Burger Battle: Take a photo of yourself eating or cooking a burger and send it to @BrainfoodDC with the hashtag #DCBurgerBattle.
The contest runs through June 23.
Also on HuffPost:
1. Bob's BBQ & Grill, Pattaya, Thailand (2007)
Weighing in at 78.5 pounds, <a href="http://www.cheese-burger.net/stories/worlds-largest-hamburger-update.html">Big Bob's Texas Belt Buster</a> was American Bob Schindler's contribution to the Thailand burger scene in 2007. The burger itself contains two heads of lettuce, 15 tomatoes, four whole onions, 35 slices of cheese, 1 cup of ketchup, 1 cup of mustard, four pickles, and four jalapeños. Priced at $400, this burger eclipsed the previous record by over 25 pounds and fired the first international salvo in the race to create bigger burgers.
2. The Ambrosia on the Spot Cafe, Sydney, Australia (2010)
As Crocodile Dundee might say, "That's not a burger. THAT's a burger." Coming in at 90 kg (198 lb.), <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/australian-cafe-claims-worlds-biggest-burger-20100607-xptl.html">The Ambrosia</a> constructed a special set of metallic plates and holders just to fit its massive burger containing 120 eggs, 150 slices of cheese, and about 5 pounds of lettuce.
3. Mallie's Sports Grill, Southgate, Michigan (2011)
In October 2011, <a href="http://malliesbar.com/GBW.htm">Mallie's</a> created the Absolutely Ridiculous Burger, weighing 338 lb. This burger broke the 2009 record of 185.6 lb., a record they had previously set themselves, and which had outdone yet another Mallie's record. The Absolutely Ridiculous Burger takes 22 hours to make and an army to eat.
4. Chef Ted Reader, Toronto, Canada (2010)
In 2010, Canadian BBQ chef Ted Reader put together a ten-person team to accomplish one goal: create a burger massive enough to hide the sun. While it may not have done that, <a href="http://www.worldrecordsacademy.org/food/largest_hamburger_world_record_set_by_Chef_Ted_Reader_101685.htm">Ted's creation</a> could at least pass for a Pluto-sized dwarf planet. It took six hours to grill the beef, which was 300 lb. in itself. The bun weighed almost 106 lb. And all together, Ted's burger added up to 590 lb. of sheer monstrosity. At that point, it tripled the pre-existing world record.
5. Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton, California (2011)
You thought 590 lb. was the highest it could get? On the 4th of July, the Alameda County Fair celebrated America's grandeur by taking back the record from its neighbor to the north, Canada. The burger contained a bun <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/san-francisco-bay-guardian/777-pound-burger-alameda-county-fair-one-record-204947723.html">weighing 100 pounds, 20 pounds of onions, 12 pounds of pickles, and 30 pounds of lettuce, for a grand total of 777 lb.</a> and well over a million calories. <em>If you are getting a heartache just looking at all this, other food institutions have created more (at least relatively) human-sized burgers that still pack a punch.</em>
6. In 'n' Out, Various Locations
At California-based burger chain In 'n' Out, <a href="http://supersizedmeals.com/food/article.php/20060125050438458">you can order</a> a 3x3 (3 patties and 3 slices of cheese), or a 4x4 (4 patties and 4 slices). Or, for about $100, you can order the 100x100, with 100 patties and 100 slices of cheese, all between just two buns. The next time you're craving a big-time burger, gather your 99 closest friends and head to the west coast.
7. Heart Attack Grill, Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is home to many strange and over-the-top attractions, including the Heart Attack Grill. The restaurant <a href="http://grandforksgourmet.areavoices.com/2012/02/16/man-has-heart-attack-at-heart-attack-grill/">celebrates artery-clogging fare</a> like cheese, bacon, and meat, and offers signature health hazards like the Quadruple Bypass Burger. And for an extra $4, the restaurant will add 20 slices of bacon. So order your gut-busting burger, your fries deep-fried in lard, and keep your doctor on speed dial. <em>And if simply ordering a colossal burger doesn't do the trick, take on one of the following burger challenges.</em>
8. Eagle's Deli, Boston, Massachusetts
The <a href="http://www.menuism.com/restaurants/eagles-deli-restaurant-brighton-30485">Eagle's Deli</a> challenge started when hungry college students devoured the largest offering on the menu. The deli decided they would name a burger after them, until someone else could exceed their feat, having their name honor a burger, and so on, and so on. The <a href="http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2007/10/the-godzilla-at-eagles-deli-restuarant.html">current Eagle's Challenge</a> stands at 5 lb. of beef, 20 pieces of bacon, 20 pieces of American cheese, 5 lb. of fries, a deli pickle, and a fountain soda. Overtake that, and have your name immortalized on the Eagle's menu.
9. Kooky Canuck, Memphis, Tennessee
A kooky Canadian relocated to Memphis, opened the <a href="http://www.menuism.com/restaurants/kooky-canuck-memphis-606963">Kooky Canuck</a>, and devised the Kookamonga challenge, boasting 4 lb. of beefy intensity. After all the fixings, you have a <a href="http://www.tiffanytastes.com/2011/12/kookamonga-challenge-wrap-up.html">whopping 7.5 lb. burger</a>, and only 60 minutes to devour it. But not everyone needs all that time--the fastest finisher took only 7 minutes and 15 seconds. Just in case you're counting, you'd need to ride a stationary bike for 17 hours, box for 15 hours, or sleep for 200 hours to burn off the over 12,000 calories.
10. Denny's Beer Barrel Pub, Clearfield, Pennsylvania
Denny's has <a href="http://fattyfriday.com/dennys-beer-barrel-pub-home-of-the-worlds-largest-hamburger-challenges">seven different challenges</a> ranging from a meager two-pound Pub Challenger to the massive 123-pound Main Event. Each challenge has a different time limit, and winners receive 50 percent off the burger, a t-shirt, and a place on the Wall of Fame.