It was Burgerpalooza for the New York City Wine & Food Festival’s annual Blue Moon Burger Bash over the weekend, with thousands of people clamoring for designer buns. Celebrity chefs griddled their burgers with smoked cheeses and Nueske bacon for several hours at the event, hoping to take home the coveted People’s Choice Award of Best Burger.
To anyone who attended Burger Bash at Pier 92 on Friday night, it was no surprise that spiky-haired chef Guy Fieri would prevail. Not only was he serving up a decadent burger (loaded with applewood-smoked bacon, creamy four-cheese mac and cheese and garlic butter), but Fieri worked his stand all night. He posed for pictures, signed autographs and flirted with his fans—only if you dropped a chip into his voting bucket. It was a spectacle and certainly helped to elevate him to the winner’s circle.
The top prize, however, was not just allotted to Fieri. He tied with Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar and Burger & Barrel. Capon’s entry was more subdued than his competitors’. His burger featured caramelized onion and bacon jam, shaved pickles, American cheese and a secret sauce. Capon has won Burger Bash at NYCWFF several years running.
The judges, however, led by event hostess Rachael Ray, picked Le Rivage’s French Onion Soup Burger as their favorite, which paired the meat with stewed onions, béchamel and emmental cheese, served on a toasted Thomas English muffin.
The chefs cooked with Pat LaFrieda’s delicious beef for the burgers, all of which was washed down with copious amounts of Blue Moon beer, one of the night’s top sponsors. There were also giveaways from Delta Airlines, including free trips anywhere in the world.
For fans, it was an opportunity to sample burgers and meet their favorite chefs like Fieri, Ray, Bobby Flay, Katie Lee, Geoffrey Zakarian and Marc Murphy. While some of the chefs had bodyguards, they were still pretty accessible and posed for many pictures. It was a friendly environment with plenty of burgers and beer for all.
The most coveted item, however, was not a burger but the trucker-style hats Schnipper’s was giving out. By the end of the night, many of the well-heeled crowd of 3,000 festival-goers were sporting this iconic chapeau from Schnipper’s. Great marketing job guys!
Written by Jacquelynn D. Powers