Chef Bryant Ng received his classical culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. His menu at The Spice Table in Los Angeles is global and elegant but still informal enough to include a killer burger. That may be one reason he is one of 12 recently named “Best New Chefs for 2012” by Food & Wine magazine.
Ng’s Spice Table Cheeseburger, menu priced at $8, uses ground beef short rib, shallot mayo, sambal chile sauce, curry-pickled cucumbers, lettuce and tomato. It’s finished on the open-fire grill with sliced Kraft American cheese.
Three other winners of this year’s Best Chef honors celebrate burgers on their menus. One is Dan Kluger of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen restaurant in New York City’s ABC Carpet & Home store. He uses Akaushi beef, a Japanese Wagyu breed, to craft a cheeseburger with herbed mayo and pickled jalapenos. It’s priced at an NYC-worthy $22.
Karen Nicholas, chef at Todd Gray’s long-time Washington, D.C., favorite Equinox, is serving a “28-Day Dry-Aged Pride of the Plains Beef Burger.” It’s topped with grilled tomatoes and Spanish Manchego cheese, and accompanied by heirloom-potato chips. It’s priced at $18.
Jenn Louis, chef and co-owner (with husband David Welch) of Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern in Portland, Ore., does it right. Sunshine Tavern’s $10 Griddle Burger is 6 ounces of beef chuck topped with red onion, iceberg lettuce and Thousand Island dressing. Options include cheese ($1), pimiento cheese ($1.50), pork belly ($2), chicken liver mousse ($2) and others. An extra patty adds $5.
The remaining chefs honored by Food & Wine this year, who are missing their chance for BurgerBusiness.com adulation because they don’t menu burgers, are Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger of The Catbird Seat, Nashville; Danny Grant of RIA at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago; Corey Lee, chef at Benu, San Francisco; Cormac Mahoney, Madison Park Conservatory, Seattle; Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, Torrisi Italian Specialties, New York City; and Blaine Wetzel, Willows Inn, Lummi Island, Wash.