Eat's my life
I’M SURE everyone knows what a hamburger is, so I suppose I don’t have to define it.
There are many different kinds, and you can get them at many different places, from your neighborhood burger stall offering “buy one, take one” burgers, to the major fast food franchises (I object to the use of “fast” in this description, but that’s another story), to the better restaurants in town, all the way to the food outlets in the major hotels and resorts. There’s never actually been any major issues regarding who’s got the best burger in town; every one has his or her own preference, but for bragging rights, the Hotel, Resort, & Restaurant Association conducted a showdown, or rather, “The First HRRAC Grilled Burger Throwdown”, at Ayala Center’s The Terraces last May 20. Ten teams of cooks competed against each other to serve yours truly and my colleagues, food enthusiast and columnist Dr. Nestor Alonzo, and Orly Cajegas, the best burger they could come up with.
The contestants had to cook two burgers, one for tasting, the other for presentation purposes, and they had to do the whole shebang in fifteen minutes. The judging was done “blind”, we didn’t know what team cooked which burger, in order to avoid any bias. The beef was provided by the Cebu City Marriott, while the other ingredients were brought by the teams themselves. The entries were judged according to taste, presentation, creativity, sportsmanship and “fun-ness”, and while all the teams pretty much knew what they were doing in terms of technique, some failed utterly in presentation, professionalism and sadly, taste. I mean, you’re a professional, how could you not be able to make a decent burger? Four burgers I tasted that day, and Dr. Alonzo concurs, absolutely had no taste. I mean, they weren’t just bland. The cooks actually killed the taste of the beef.
On the other hand, three teams emerged outstanding. Third place went to the Cebu City Marriott, the team from the Marco Polo Plaza got second place, and top spot went to Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa. The three establishments all had a Cebuano theme in common, and I guess this clinched it for the three. Still, there can be only one, and Shangri-La’s team came up with a fantastic looking burger, that tasted really delicious. The team also showed a lot of creativity, putting the patty in a guitar-shaped bun. They chose to go native, using banana chips in place of potato chips or French fries.
It was a nice idea, to make the burger “Cebuano”, and the three winning teams really outdid themselves on this one. As for me, I was glad to be invited, by Marriott’s Charlene Go, to be one of the judges. While it didn’t have the drama of the CJ Corona trial, I’m sure the final judgment of Cebu’s first Burger Throwdown will also go down in history.