10/13/2012 12:55:00 PM

NYCWFF Burger Bash: Josh Capon and Michael White are Victorious

Josh Capon celebrates victory, once again
It was quite the chilly night for a burger cook off on the Lower East Side, but Burger and Barrel's Josh Capon was ready to throw down and defend his People's Choice award from last year's meat-tastic throw down. "I haven't changed a frickin' thing," he said, when asked about his strategy. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The crowd was also thinking strategically. To deal with the biting chill in the air they guzzled a seasonal label from Blue Moon and lots and lots of wine. No question this was the most well-attended Burger Bash yet, chefs were told to prepare 1,800 portions, but popular patties like Seamus Mullen's offering from Tertulia were gobbled up way before the 10 PM closing bell. Long lines were evident at the tables from Shake Shack (who were giving away full-sized burgers for those hearty souls who find pride in an uncomfortably engorged stomach) and Burger Joint - the staff there calmly told the throngs that they couldn't take special requests despite numerous cries of "medium-rare" and "well-done."

Bobby's Burger Palace also courted a crowd, and we got to chatting with Flay's business partner Laurence Kretchmer. Surely the reception at events like this meant a NYC location of the chain could no be far off? Actually, no. "If you can make it in New York you can't necessarily make it anywhere," he said. "if you can make it everywhere else and come to New York, maybe you can make it." He also promised not to open in The Big Apple unless the location was perfect.

Shake Shack's burger 
While some chefs were just there for a good time - Laurent Tourondel of the just-launched  LT Burger promised that he "wasn't there to win. I'm just here to meet people" - most were in it to win it. A gaggle gathered by the stage when Rachael Ray took the microphone to announce the results. The first place judge's prize went to chef Michael White for the mini version of Ai Fiori's White Label burger, while the big People's Choice award went to - wait for it - Josh Capon, who is now a three time winner!

The chef bounded to the stage and readily mugged for the crowd, posing with the giant check and throwing his arms in the air. Ray got in on the action, smiling for photos and manically saying "cheeseburgers! cheeseburgers!" as the flashes went off. Capon's excited speech contained smack talk against other burger chefs (watch out Michael Symon), exhortations for the Yankees regarding their playoff prospects, and a final call to the crowd, "Burger Bash 4 Eva!!!!" Indeed.


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