Arquiza: Burger Brawl

Jigs Arquiza

Eat's my life

FIVE people. Five burgers. One heck of a good time. This was what happened last Friday, July 6, as Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa held their first-ever Media Burger Cook-Off. Five representatives from the media faced each other and attempted to make the best burger they could.

Representing print were me, Jen Vega and Dominic Sy, with fellow Cebu food mafia Doyzkie Buenaviaje standing in for new media, the bloggers, with Julienne Eva Guanzon the lone delegate from the small screen.

I’m a serious amateur, but faced with this challenge, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Am I really as good as I think I am?” And so it went. Shangri-La’s Chef Patrick was the coordinator, and he talked us through the rules: 15 minutes to make the burgers, and the judging included creativity and presentation. That was it, and the battle began.

First, I made the burger patty, forming the ground beef into a large ball and flattening it. I then crumbled feta cheese in the center, and rolled up the sides of the patty. I was a little concerned that we didn’t have some flour and eggs, to be used as a binder for the patty so it wouldn’t fall apart, but having faith in my abilities as a cook, and saying a little prayer to the Lord, I threw caution to the winds and put the burger on the grill. I then put my sesame seed buns beside my burger, and after a few minutes, took them off the grill and put in the garnish:

lettuce, tomatoes, onions, a slice of cheddar, pickles and cucmbers, with a dash of mayonnaise. I also threw in a handful of fries and a couple of lettuce leaves for effect.

Fifteen minutes later, all five of us were done, our best efforts in front of us. Judging was done on a blind system, with the judges (Shangri-La’s Food and Beverage division trainer Alvin Cacho, Chef June Fernandez of Tides, and intern Nico Braun) not knowing whose burger it was. I was number five, my entry, The Marty Burger, named after my son Marty. When the judges were done, they settled down in one corner to tabulate their results. As they were doing this, the competitors massed around the remains of our burgers, tasting them and making comments.

I was a little worried that I would lose, after tasting Dominic’s barbecue sauce-drenched burger, because it did taste good. However, I became more assured when I saw a couple of the judges going back for more bites of my entry. A few minutes later, Chef Patrick announced my name, proclaiming me the winner of Shangri-La’s first Media Burger Cook-Off. It was a really great time for me, being able to show off my cooking skills, and finally being able to wear a toque (chef’s hat). Winning, of course, made me feel good, and I received a nice gift basket from Shangri-La as my prize.

Oh, and if you’re interested in knowing how a crocodile tastes, Shangri-La has a really good burger made from crocodile meat. It doesn’t really taste like meat: it tastes more like fish, and the texture is pretty much similar, and yeah, tasting it would give you a little bit of bragging rights, but don’t take my word for it. Why don’t you check it out?

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