South Beach - On a steamy Friday night in South Beach, Cleveland chef Michael Symon secured an unprecedented "three-peat" at the sold-out Amstel Light Burger Bash at The South Beach Wine & Food Festival. After winning the coveted People's Choice award two years in a row, Symon appeared genuinely elated upon hearing his name called once again at the climax of the 2012 event.
"It's shocking!" announced host Rachael Ray. "It's a three-peat for Michael Symon!"
Symon, with Rocco Whalen and Matt Harlan manning the grills, prepared approximately 2,100 burgers for the thousands of guests, most whom paid $225 for the pleasure of devouring burgers cooked by some the world's finest chefs. B Spot's burger of the night was the Porky, a 3-ounce beef and pork belly patty topped with pulled pork, slaw, spicy pickle and Stadium Mustard. A crispy pork rind was an appropriate garnish.
Other star chefs dishing out burgers included Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Masaharu Morimoto and Marc Forgione, among many others.
Symon's first stop after claiming his trophy was the B Spot booth, where he was greeted with hoots and hollers from his thrilled team. While being interviewed for Food Network TV, Symon was asked what the secret is to a winning burger.
"You want to know the secret?" Symon responded. "Great people — that's the secret."
Story and photos by Douglas Trattner.