Burgers, Cheeseburgers and stuff… Yes a website about Burgers.

Red Robin: Kids’ Burger Contest

By • Sep 4th, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog

Red Robin professes to be the “gourmet burger expert for 40 years,” according to their website.  Maybe so, since they first offered a cheeseburger topped with a fried egg back in 1973, beating my beloved Vortex Bar & Grill to the cholesterol-laden punch by two decades or so.  But apparently even the 2009 “Best Burger in the Full Service Chain” Zagat-winner needs a little extra creative inspiration every now and again.  So they turned to this guy:


That’s Charlie Beckett of Rathdrum, Idaho.  He’s 7.  (Photo credit: Business Wire)

Charlie was the grand prize winner of the 2008 Red Robin Kids’ Cook-Off.  It’s an annual contest that invites children ages 6 through 12 to design their own gourmet burger.  Charlie’s creation is called the Holy-peno Burger; it’s got jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, pepperoncinis, and a blend of Cajun spices… all served atop a Red Robin burger and inside a jalapeno-ciabatta bun.

Think your little Julia Child can do better?  The 2009 contest is accepting entries until September 13.  The winner gets a family vacation to Universal Orlando and, like Charlie, has their burger put on the Red Robin menu.  Then, for every one that sells, Red Robin chucks in 50 cents to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children… as if you need another good reason to go out for cheeseburgers.

Red Robin

Don’t have a Red Robin near you?  You can go to the Red Robin website and get a free download of the 2008 cookbook, which contains 50 burger recipes from the contest, including the Holy-peno.  But be prepared: these kids have some serious chops in the kitchen.  Forget your traditional burger toppingsBacon?  Like, whatevs, grandpa. How about artichoke spinach dip?  Or balsamic-marinated tomatoes?  Or pineapple-mango aioli?

The cookbook is worth a peek.  There are some cool, tasty-looking burger ideas in here.  But c’mon.  Pepperoncinis?  Ciabatta??  Aioli??? These are kids who can’t even go on all the rides at the amusement park, and they’re cooking with aioli?!?!?  Okay, maybe third-grade home-ec classes are waaay more advanced than I realize.  Maybe there’s a whole generation of munchkins who were plopped down in front of Food Network instead of Sesame Street.  Maybe kids today are more into Emeril and Rachael than Elmo and Dora.  Call me a jaded cynic, but methinks that perhaps just a few of these culinary whizkids had a wee bit of help from someone actually tall enough to reach the stovetop.

I have a six year-old.  She’ll try some new things now and again, but her palate simply isn’t that sophisticated.  She was raised on Cheerios and Goldfish, not acai berries and hummus.  I guarantee that if I turned her loose in the kitchen, she’s not coming up with anything that has aioli on it.  No, I’m positive that Sydney’s ultimate cheeseburger would look drastically different.  Imagine a PB&Jburger topped with fish sticks, mac and cheese, a hot dog… and served between two slices of pepperoni pizza instead of hamburger buns.

Ooh. Now, hold on just a minute there…  Where did I put that contest entry form???

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