What’s your favorite burger?
YouthBiz teamed up with Park Burger restaurants to present this challenge to middle and high school students. The result? A lot of learning, thought, and inspiration, and four of the best-tasting burgers judges have ever tasted!
Burger Biz began when 22 students met industry experts over the course of a week. The group met for two hours in the evenings, and they first heard Adam Akisanya, Senior Marketing Manager at Gastamo Group, present a session on marketing and ideation. Craig Diamond of Shamrock Foods helped the group think through pricing and product sourcing, and finally Molly Meetz of Two Parts helped the group perfect their presentations. At the pitch semi-finals, judges chose four burger ideas to progress to the finals.
The four burger finalists couldn’t have been any more different. Up first was 11-year-old Jemila presenting her Volcano Burger, a spicy beef burger topped with melted cheese, jalapeños, and crunchy hot Cheetos. “If you like spicy food, this burger is for you!” sang Jemila in her presentation. 12-year-old Cooper presented second, impressing the judges and the crowd with his beef, truffle oil, gouda, sautéed mushroom, and red-wine infused Night on the City burger. “My inspiration is having a fancy dinner with friends,” said Cooper. “But I want my burger to be affordable and delicious.” Lauren, age 11, then showcased her Macaroni and Cheese burger, which she recommended pairing with Park Burger’s garlic and Parmesan truffle fries. Her presentation even included a video where she showed each step of the burger. Last to present were friends Gabe and Kellan, both 14, creators of the Omnivore’s Colorful Complex. At just 520 calories, their burger used a bison patty, purple Brussels sprouts, fig jam, goat cheese, and bacon. The goal was to create a burger that was “diverse in flavor and color” and also environmentally sustainable.
In addition to judging the burger concept, cost, and presentation, judges at the finale also evaluated the burger’s taste. Judges included Virgil Dickerson of Two Parts, Katie Lazor of Eat Denver, and Peter Newlin of the Gastamo Group, the restaurant group that owns Park Burger, and they had a tough decision to make. In the end, Gabe and Kellan’s Omnivore’s Colorful Complex took home the top prize: $500 cash and the privilege of being Park Burger’s featured burger of the month for November. Judges complimented their impressive presentation and also their ingenuity by creating a sustainable burger concept.
Even though there was just one winning burger, each burger contestant also earned praise from all. “More than ever, the contestants in this year’s Burger Biz really stepped up to the plate,” said Maite Wantwadi, Director of YouthBiz. “The group really took the lessons they learned to heart, and each burger was the result of many hours of thoughtful, hard work. We are so impressed!”