#BurgerBattleSTL Winner & Cafe Osage Chef Dave Kirkland Champions the Grill

By Jessica Leitch
In Food

David Kirkland built his culinary foundation by working his way through kitchens around town, including Catering St. Louis and the cafe at Saint Louis Art Museum. After a few years at a retail stint in San Francisco, Kirkland returned to St. Louis in 2007 and joined the team at Cafe Osage. The restaurant is known for its delicious brunches, but Kirkland subbed hash browns for a bison burger at the 2015 Budweiser Burger Battle, where his take on the classic American dish was elected judges’ favorite.


What do you love about your culinary career? I love to be creative, and food is one of the ways I showcase that side of myself. I also love the satisfaction of cooking for people and seeing their immediate reactions.

Cafe Osage is famous for their urban garden. What’s your favorite seasonal produce to use? In the summer, I love cucumbers and tomatoes. This fall, I look forward to working with okra, hearty greens (kale, mustard and chard), beets and turnips.

What was your inspiration for the winning “Brie L T” burger? The “Brie L T” sandwich on the menu at Cafe Osage. I wanted to give attendees a taste of something the could get at the cafe. It had the same tomato marmalade, arugula and Nueske’s bacon as the sandwich, but with a bison burger as the base.

What’s the most overlooked component of grilling?
Making sure to have a hot grill and maintaining consistent heat control.

Did your involvement in Burger Battle inspire any new menu items? Actually, yes. There may be sliders added to the menu this fall …

This story appeared in the October 2015 issue.

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