Trading their usual kitchens for tents, six St. Louis chefs battled it out at the grill to determine the winner of the 2013 Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge. Each chef and his team spent a hot afternoon slinging out delicious sliders for the masses, but in the end only two of them could be crowned as winners. The judges found Mike Johnson’s classic cheeseburger from Sugarfire Smoke House (9200 Olive Blvd. Olivette, 314.997.2301) to be practically flawless, and awarded him the honorable title of Top Chef, while the popular vote went to the new kid on the block, Matt Galati of The Dam (3173 Morganford Road, Tower Grove, 314.771.5173). ALIVE caught up with Top Chef Johnson to see how his team managed to come out on top.
ALIVE: What inspired your winning burger?
Mike Johnson: We knew our ingredients and techniques were top notch, so it was just about putting it all together and keeping the crowds happy throughout the afternoon.
ALIVE: What do you think set you apart from the competition?
MJ: The ingredients on our burger are the highest quality—from the buns freshly baked by Fazio’s on The Hill to our housecured bacon—those are the details that set us apart. Plus, we were the only ones to go with the flat-top grill, which is the classic way to cook a burger.
ALIVE: Can those hungry for more find this burger on your menu?
MJ: Absolutely, because the burger we put out this afternoon is one of our tried-and-true staples at Sugarfire.
ALIVE: As reigning champ of the Top Chef Burger Challenge, will you be back next year to defend your title?
MJ: We love the competition and look forward to coming out again!
If you couldn’t make it to the Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge this year, head out to the winners’ restaurants and be your own judge. Private rooms, catering, box lunches and online ordering are now available from all of our locations!