No wonder he’s an Iron Chef. Michael Symon‘s Cleveland burger joint B Spot is barely four months old but he was judged winner of the People’s Choice Award Thursday at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash. Symon’s “Fat Doug” burger was topped with pastrami, Swiss cheese and slaw. Runner up was Bobby Flay of Bobby’s Burger Palace and Food Network. Another Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, took Best Dressed Burger honors. Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink in Miami won the Golden Grill Award.
Bash hostess Rachael Ray (r.) crowned Symon as the successor to last year’s winner, Spike Mendelsohn of Washington, D.C.’s Good Stuff Eatery and “Top Chef” notoriety. Mendelsohn was back to defend his crown this year. The 2007 “Top Chef” winner, Stephanie Izard, was there, too, representing her new The Girl and the Goat restaurant.
Other chef and restaurant competitors were: 8 Oz. Burger Bar; Jake Linzinmeir of X Cafe; Bill’s Bar & Burger; Bistro One LR at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach; Blackberry Farm; Laurent Tourondel of BLT Burger; Gabriel Fenton of Bourbon Steak; David Burke of Primehouse; DB Bistro Moderne; Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges; Jeffrey and Zach Chodorow; Jeni’s Ice Cream; Levain Bakery; Tim Love of Love Shack; Marcus Samuelsson of Marc Burger; Sean Brasel of Meat Market; Michael Schwartz of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink; Jonathan Bennett of Moxie, the Restaurant; Michael Lomonaco of Porter House New York; Rocco DiSpirito; Shake Shake; Mark Zeitouni of Standard Miami; and Ken Oringer of Toro.