MartinJenkins Burger Challenge 2014

Kevin and Maia Jenkins
MartinJenkins Burger Challenge Champs 2014
MartinJenkins is where I work.  MartinJenkins held a burger challenge competition. Six teams entered the competition.  The teams were asked to design their ultimate burger to be judged by their peers.

The teams were assigned a budget of $40 to prepare three burgers in 30 minutes.  The event took place in the Wellington Office kitchen, which had an oven and a sandwich press.  Two George Foreman grills were brought in, and the smoke alarms were disabled.

The teams worked two at a time with no gaps in between. Potentially 1.5 hours of uncontrolled mayhem.  Amazingly it all went without a hitch.  There was no espionage, no fisticuffs, no fires, and no sabotage.  There was a lot of trash talking, barked orders, and smoke.

Despite the cramped quarters and less than ideal cooking arrangements, each team produced their three burgers in the allotted time.  Some even faster than that (there was a bit of pre-comp prepping going on I must admit).  And the teams all took the challenge seriously, with thought going into the burger theme and the beer match.  There were even menus for a few of them...

All six burgers were of the highest quality and were eaten with gusto, fine beer and a lot of enjoyment. Having announced the preliminary and headline results on the night, the full results are as follows from 6th through to 1st.

Game Theory:  Richard Tait and Hayden Johnston

Game Theory (6th)
A venison pattie with mushroom, caramelised red onion and cabbage, plum sauce? and mesclun salad on a plain bun.

Beer Match:  Renaissance StoneCutter Scotch Ale

This was the second burger plated and was probably the neatest burger in terms of form and shape. To be expected with Hayden at the helm.

Unfortunately even Hayden's proven culinary skills and a top beer match from craft beer expert, Richard, were not enough to counter the difficulties of transforming a venison pattie into a burger.

Best Venison Burger, The “Aura of Calm” Award for the most assured cooking, Special Mention for best use of subtle flavours and seasoning

“lovely – but a bit subtle on the taste delivery”; “Great beer match”

Overall score: 7.50 out of 10 (6th)

The Multiplier:  Burger Kings – Steve and Jake Glover

The Multiplier (5th)

Beef pattie wrapped in prosciutto with goats cheese, onion relish and roasted tomato on a Pandoro bun.

Beer Match:  8 Wired The Big Smoke Smoked Porter

Up first was The Multiplier.  A burger with a behemoth of a bun and ingredients that, when combined were greater than the sum of the parts.  The Glover boy's approach was to apply quality ingredients, achieved with a visit to Moore Wilson's.

The burger contained exotic ingredients only found in high end restaurants - goat's cheese, prosciutto, a Pandoro bun, gourmet onion relish.  However, the quality ingredients weren't enough to counter fundamental errors. The bun was not toasted and was probably a bit too much.  The tomato was roasted.  However they were enough to give it a respectable score with the audience.

Best Use of Prosciutto, Runner-up for most audacious use of nepotism.

“Cheesy and Smokey. Would you take it home to meet the parents? Rebel with a cause”; “Would have liked some green”

Overall score: 7.78 out of 10 (5th)

The Spice Isles Burger:  Team TT – Trevor Coates and Ty Phillips

5-spice chicken, bacon and grilled pineapple on a sourdough bun.

Beer Match:  Tuatara American Pale Ale

The Spice Isles (4th)

Sanitary gloves, Hawaiian shirts, Caribbean flags and calypso music could do nothing to hide the fact that this was a chicken sandwich.

It was actually a great tasting sandwich.  One I would be happy to pay for at a cafe.

Unfortunately it was in a "BURGER" competition, and was scored accordingly.

Best Chicken “Burger”, Special Mention for greatest attention to food hygiene, Best Commitment to Overall Theme (for the shirts, music, use of flags, seasoning and menu) – Winner of the Golden Cooking Utensil Special Prize.

“I liked it, but was it lunch? or dinner?”; “I wanted to hate this burger (so bad). But great flavours, pineapple adds exoticism. Pity about the shirts”

Overall score: 8.00 out of 10 (4th)

Lamba Lamba Ding Dong: Hot Buns – Kerry Gray, Marie Gudsell and Donella Bellett 

Lamb pattie with Kapiti Gouda cheese, mint and feta pesto, fresh tomato salsa on a sourdough bun; with a side of hand cut fries.

Beer Match:  8 Wired Tall Poppy India Pale Ale

Lamba Lamba Ding Dong (3rd)

All ingredients were prepared from scratch within the 30 minute time limit.  A number of these were sourced from their own gardens - shallots, garlic, parsley, mint, red onion and lemon.

 This team was a well oiled machine and they plated what can only be described as a fine looking burger.  Their offering achieved a number of firsts.  It was the first (and only) lamb burger.  It was the first (and only) burger that came with fries.  It was the first (and only) burger prepared by women. The only first  it didn't get was first place.

Best Lamb Burger, Best Complement (for the hand cut fries), Runner-up for best use of hand-outs and promotional literature.

“Chips = 10% magic”; “Minty”; “Exceeded expectations”.

Overall score: 8.50 out of 10 (3rd)

The MANburger: The Gentlemen’s Club – Chris Gould, Nick Carlaw and Jason Leung-Wai 

The MANburger (2nd)
Two ground chuck steak patties with cheddar cheese and bacon, jalapeno peppers and gherkin, Thunderbird chipotle mayo on a sesame seed bun with a side of smoked paprika crisps and Chipotle BBQ hot sauce.

Beer Match:  8 Wired Tall Poppy India Red Ale

The gentle men from the south side of the building went with the classic cheeseburger on a sesame seed bun.  The patties were specially ordered from Nicholas' local butcher, and the chipotle mayonnaise was begged from Thunderbird Cafe.

 The flavour hit (heat) came from the Jalapeno and chipotle mayonnaise.  Bacon added the saltiness, while gherkin added bite.  A strong effort with rave reviews, but only good enough to score second place.

Best Use of Bacon, Best Condiment (for the hip-flask of special chilli sauce), Special Mention for the biggest burger with biggest flavours.

“Chipotle mayo and jalapeno made it!”; “So big you need both hands to wrestle it to the plate”; “Dial up the manliness to ten!”

Overall score: 8.58 out of 10 (2nd)

Benio Burger:  The Benio Burgers – Kevin and Maia Jenkins

Homemade beef pattie with gruyere cheese, red onion jam and rocket leaves.

Beer Match:  Kevin's Artisan Stout

Benio Burger (1st)
The father/daughter combo had been scheming for weeks, and came in well prepared.  They talked the talk and backed it up with a burger that was outstanding.  This was the classic cheeseburger.  A single origin pattie from Benio (in the South Island), nutty gouda cheese, a specially brewed beer that was also used as an ingredient in the the cooking creating continuity in the experience.

Their description of ingredients included: A sesame bun; A patty made from ground grass-fed beef from Benio Station, northern Southland, mixed with diced red onions, salt, pepper, Worstershire sauce and stout; Red onion jam made from sliced red onions, brown sugar, De Nigris Chianti red wine vinegar, merlot, butter and salt; Gruyere; Roquette; Love.

Unsurprisingly, the effort was rewarded with the benio winning the grand prize.

Best Beef Burger, Best Beer Match (specially brewed for the event), Best use of hand outs and promotional literature. First prize for most audacious use of nepotism.

“Walks the walk”; “Fantastic beer match”; “Loved the relish”; “Tasty”

Overall score: 9.13 out of 10 (1st)

Look out for a future post with the Benio Burger recipe.

And to conclude, a big thanks to the Social Club (Stephen and Jake Glover) and Admin for sorting out the fire alarm.  A great night was had by all.

We can sleep comfortably at night knowing that if the consulting business goes bellyup there is a fallback option...


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