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Build a Better Burger

“Consumers have had a love affair with the burger since it was first invented in the 1800s,” says David Zino, executive chef at NCBA.

“Even though burgers have been around for a long time, chefs still have lots of opportunities to take it to another level,” says Zino. He cites the “burger renaissance” in the commercial segment today. From mini burgers in a trio of flavors to foi gras-stuffed patties, operators can glean inspiration from Bobby Flay's Bobby's Burger Palace in NY, Thomas Keller's Burgers and Half-Bottles in California and Las Vegas, and Laurent Tourondel's BLT Burger in NY and Vegas.

And speaking of cutting edge burgers, the foodservices staff at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, OH offers the ultimate burger to students and faculty with freshly hand-cut and ground beef burgers. “We buy one or two heads of cattle per month and custom cut beef products,” says Bon Appetit Executive Chef Bob Lubecky.

Any ground chuck not slated for burgers becomes an ingredient in pasta sauces, homemade sausage and meatballs. Consider Lubecky's Sambusa recipe: Cumin and cardamom scented ground beef is gently sauteed with savory onion, wrapped in spring roll wrappers, then quickly deep-fried. Each bite offers a satisfying crispy crunch yielding to a tender, lightly spiced interior. “It's simply addictive,” he adds.

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