The First Feedbag Burger Summit has, Josh Ozersky says, “been in the works since Walter Anderson invented the modern hamburger in 1916” — though he adds that he found more recent inspiration at Rachael Ray’s Burger Bash at last year’s New York Wine & Food Festival. That “supremely awesome” event inspired him, he says, to “rip it off, but with my own little pathological twists.”
So the Summit, which takes place as part of the Summit Wine and Food Festival on Sunday, July 26, will differ in two crucial ways. Judges will grade the burgers based on blind tastings to avoid situations like the one at the Bash where, Ozersky says, burgers handed out by “pretty chefs like Michelle Bernstein had an advantage” over those from “funny-looking ones like Franklin Becker.” Burgers will also be graded within categories, so instead of, say, a “no-frills slider coming up against a lamb burger from Anthos,” sliders will be judged against sliders, classics against classics, and so on.
The Summit’s 12 judges will include the Burger of the Month Club guys, whose exploits were profiled by The New York Times back in May, as well as Hearth’s Marco Canora, and meat mavens Pat LaFrieda and Mark Pastore. And the 20 chefs — hailing from such restaurants as BLT, Le Bernardin, and Little Owl — will be using meat from Creekstone Farms, the same supplier to LaFrieda.
While Ozersky clearly relishes the idea of the meaty bounty awaiting him, it isn’t actually his wildest dream come true. “No. That would involve the Williams sisters. I’d have them compete against each other,” he says, momentarily falling into a revelry somewhat unrelated to the prospect of theoretically consuming upwards of 20 hamburgers.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 16, 2009