Favorite Burgers of Top ChefsBy Todd • May 20th, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog
Ever wonder where the most celebrated chefs in the world go when they need a fast-food fix? Men’s magazine Esquire did, asking A-list restaurateurs and famous TV foodies to name their top picks. Fried chicken, BBQ, tacos, and ice cream were all represented, but no category received the loyal love that cheeseburgers did. And one establishment was far and away the fave of the people who know food better than anyone.
In-N-Out Burger came out on top as the runaway winner of Esquire‘s informal poll. Noted chefs who called the California-based chain their go-to spot included David Myers (Sona and Comme Ca in LA), Nate Appleman (A16 and SPQR in San Francisco), Charlie Palmer (Aureole in NYC and Charlie Palmer Steak), Joey Campanaro (The Little Owl in NYC), Paul Bartolotta (Bartolotta in Las Vegas), and Thomas Keller (The French Laundry in Napa Valley and Per Se in NYC). Among the TV types who raved about In-N-Out were Alton Brown (Iron Chef America, Good Eats), Guy Fieri (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives), and Tyler Florence (Tyler’s Ultimate, Food 911):
For the record, Alton’s In-N-Out order is a Hamburger “Animal Style” (the patty is drenched in mustard before cooking) and a chocolate shake. Tyler also goes from the chain’s not-so-secret “secret menu” (it’s on their website, for God’s sake) for his usual, an “Animal Style” Double-Double (double meat, double cheese). The spiky-haired sweatbanded Guy didn’t give a regular menu pick. All in all, an overwhelmingly impressive showing for a chain with just 245 stores in only 4 states… and about 5 things on the menu.
But the beloved Baldwin Park institution isn’t the only burger baron on Esquire‘s list. Laurent Tourondel, the chef behind the popular BLT restaurants (including his own burger bar, BLT Burger) is a BK man, while Brian Bistrong of NYC’s Braeburn loves Five Guys. Craig Hopson from uber-trendy Le Cirque in NYC frequents Jack in the Box (but inexplicably lists their curly fries with buttermilk sauce as his number-one nosh; who goes out and only orders fries?!?). David Burke loves him some Wendy’s. (Based on my own recent tastings, though, his affection for the little pigtailed girl means I can’t trust his taste buds enough to try his NYC restaurants Townhouse and Fishtail. Sorry, Dave.) But I may have found a burger buddy in Tim Dove, the cowboy chef behind Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and the Love Shack in Fort Worth. Check out his “usual” from Whataburger: a Whataburger with cheese, bacon, and jalapenos… with two sausage-and-egg taquitos on the side. Giddyup.