FINALISTS REVEALED: Well, we don't even know where to begin with you, if you're the sort of person who attends a barbecue but retreats to the privacy of the kitchen to dress your burger. If you're the sort of eater who favors offbeat ingredients, or unusual combinations of toppings and condiments, then you've likely had a private moment with your plate while all of the ketchup-favorers and cheese-only people are in the backyard, munching away. You've dug through the host's refrigerator for marmalade, and blue cheese, and maybe yogurt, and maybe Sriracha. Maybe you diced up a hard-boiled egg, too, and grabbed a handful of arugula. And when you slipped back outside, to the barbecue, and your pals asked you why your burger was stacked so high, you could only shrug, smile, and nosh away. If this is you, you needn't feel the shame of slipping away to the kitchen for your offbeat burger any longer. You are a star, in the world of the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest.
THE ANNUAL CONTEST... culminates in a springtime cook-off at the winery's St. Helena headquarters, but home burger builders get to plotting their patty additions months of time (or even years). The 2014 finalists were just announced in mid-February, which gives potential 2015 finalists some inspiration in the whole recipe-making department. Among those chosen to push their burger to savory superstardom in May? Priscilla Yee's Chorizo Beef Burger, with orange piquillo relish and smoky tomato aioli and Jennifer Gentry's Apres Ski Triple Ginger Bacon Burger, with rosemary onion rings and brie.
THINK YOU HAVE THE STUFF... to show off your stuff, and loaded beauty of a burger, at St. Helena down the road? And walk away with that oh-so-longed-for $25,000 grand prize? Study up on all things savory, Sutter Home-style, and what the finalists did that got them noticed. And then retreat to the corner of the kitchen while the others just go the usual condiment route.