Battle of the burgers

Battle of the burgers

Photo Credits: JAMIE CHEN / AGGIE

Cool Cuisine Burger Battle offers competition for plant-based burger artisans

This year, March is all about being green: not just for St. Patrick’s Day, but for the Cool Cuisine Burger Battle happening in Davis. Cool Cuisine is a partnership between organizations and individuals that searches for the tastiest plant-based burgers. According to the Cool Cuisine website, “restaurants in Davis will compete to create the most mouth-watering, enticing, planet-friendly, plant-based burgers and diners will vote on each one they taste!”

There are many different restaurants here at Davis that are participating in the contest, even some on campus. See below a list of restaurants and the name of their plant-based burgers:

  • Bistro 33- “Impossible Burger” created by Chef Manny Cruz
  • Chay Corner at Lazi Cow- “Grilled Goodness Burger” created by Chef Chay (Brandon Dinh)
  • Cuarto Dining Commons- “Road Runner Burger” created by Chef Janos Levin
  • Davis Food Coop- “Pakora Fritter Burger” created by Chef Terry Brooks and Kathryn French
  • De Vere’s Irish Pub- “Southwest Vegan Burger”
  • Segundo Dining Commons- “Falafel Burger” created by Chef Cesar Cienfuegos
  • Smokin’ Ewe BBQ at G Street Wunderbar- “Smokey Quinoa Portobello Burger” created by Chef Arturo Gonzalez
  • Solomon’s Delicatessen- “Pastrami Burger” created by Chef Aimal Formoli
  • Spokes Grill- “Beyond Bulgogi”
  • Tercero Dining Commons- “Eggplant Parmesan Burger” created by Chef Robert Reilly
  • The Gunrock- “Beyond Bella”
  • The Hotdogger- “Bratwurst with Sauerkraut” created by Chef Ivan Franks
  • Yeti Restaurant- “Bara Bara Nepalese Burger” created by Chef Prajwal Bajracharya
  • Zumapoke & Lush Ice- created by Chef Rachael Ryen

As of March 1, anyone and everyone is invited to visit these restaurants and vote on each burger based on a five point scale of “ok” to “awesome” in the following categories: taste, presentation, texture, unique flavor, juiciness and similarity to real meat. The voting form is located online. Each vote gives you one entry into a raffle for the chance to win a one night stay in a Grass Valley guest house. The site also indicates that “we will tally all of the rankings at the end and give awards to our competing chefs as well as calculate the Burger Battle’s environmental impact on savings of water, energy, and contributions to greenhouse gas.”

Having a plant-based burger competition is Cool Cuisine’s way of attempting to crush the misperception surrounding plant-based food and encourage the public to recognize the possibilities, according to Anya McCann the founder of Cool Cuisine.

“COOL Cuisine hopes that after an excellent experience with something as approachable as the all-American burger… with a twist,” McCann said. “Diners will be willing to eat more sustainable foods more often, seek them out and support them in restaurants, too. The burgers in the competition] offer generally more healthy, nutritional content: lower fat, low cholesterol and are full of good things your body needs to function well and feel good, like vitamins from vegetables and fiber from grains and protein from nuts and legumes.”

Richard Ronquillo, the associate director of Departmental and Student Outreach for Student Housing and Dining Services, said, “UC Davis has incredibly talented chefs who work hard to create a variety of great food and this is an opportunity to show everyone how good the good on campus really is.”

UC Davis Dining Services has created an eggplant parmesan burger, a falafel burger, a sweet potato and black bean burger and a “Beyond” burger. The toppings range from vegan mozzarella and marinara to roasted pasilla, avocado puree and roasted red pepper to spicy mayonnaise, kimchi, Portobello and chimichurri sauce.

To encourage the public to try these new burgers, Ronquillo said the Dining Services department has made an effort to create unique recipes that attract students.

“In the last 15 months, [the Dining Services Program] have created some incredible recipes, forged relationships with even more local growers and really are doing some amazing and delicious things with our campus dining program,” Ronquillo said. “Eating a meal is a great way to create memories and explore different cultures, and I encourage everyone to step out and try new things.”

If you like eating burgers, especially plant-based ones, you should participate in the Cool Cuisine Burger Battle happening all throughout the month of March. In the words of Anya McCann, “Go forth and eat.”

Written By: SIERRA BURGUENO — features@theaggie.org