A trio of Baton Rouge chefs went to a burger cookoff in New Orleans and won big time.
Last Wednesday, Sean Rivera of Driftwood Cask & Barrel, Ryan Andre of City Pork Brasserie & Bar and Sydney Harkins of Noble Wave teamed up for the Blended Burger Battle at Central City BBQ. The event is part of the James Beard Foundation's Culinary Fight Club.
During last week's competition, chefs had an hour to create a beef and mushroom-blended burger. The trio's burger was made with shiitake and king oyster mushrooms, poblano peppers, charred jalapenos and bacon. And the burger won the people's and judge's choice awards.
"It was a humbling experience," Rivera said. "We didn't expect to win. It was a good feeling to know that we were putting in hard work, and we were able to outshine the big boys."
However, the event wasn't without its difficulties. With only 45 seconds to get their desired ingredients at the top of the cookoff, the trio had to adapt and rewrite its recipe because it couldn't get all the essentials.
"I had a list, and I ended up getting four items," Andre said.
"It was definitely insanity," Harkins said. "It taught me that you can plan however much you want, but it all goes out the window when the timer starts."
When all was said and done, the trio won $300 and an invitation to compete at the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama in November.
"That's the Olympics," Rivera said of the upcoming food competition.
"It's one of the biggest food competitions of the year," Andre added.
No matter what happens next, Harkins said the New Orleans burger battle was a great experience.
"The beauty of it was we all had confidence in each other," she said. "We knew it was going to be great no matter what curve balls were thrown our way. It was instant decision making, teamwork, and throwing together stuff at the last minute with the skills you have. It was an awesome experience."