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Hamburger Hop Boosts Attendance, Adds New After-Party
By: Jenny Berg
Posted October 3, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT
The hamburger tasting, an opening night celebration for Chicago Gourmet, has steady growth over the past four years.
The Hamburger Hop took place on the rooftop of the Harris Theater in Millennium Park on September 27. A kickoff party to Chicago Gourmet—the high-end food fest presented by Bon Appétit—the hop centers on a competition in which prominent chefs battle to create the best burger. Now in its forth year, the event drew more than 1,100 attendees on Friday, up from 800 in 2011 and 1,000 in 2012.
“The buzz has grown over the years due to the fun, high-energy atmosphere, the perfect backdrop of the Chicago skyline, and the event’s friendly competition format,” said Liz Sorrentino, executive director of Chicago Gourmet. Then, of course, there’s the lure of the menu. “The burger is one of the most iconic American foods, beloved by foodies, chefs, and the average American,” Sorrentino said. “The Hamburger Hop celebrates this icon and gives the chefs a chance to get creative with their toppings.”
As the evening wrapped up, judges including chefs Graham Elliot and Hubert Keller helped Howells & Hood‘s Scott Walton win the “Judge’s Choice” award for his kimchi burger. Chef Jeff Mauro of Food Network’s Sandwich King snagged the People’s Choice award for his cherry-pepper, jalapeno, and Havarti-topped creation. This year, 15 chefs competed in the meaty competition, and Sorrentino said that there’s typically a lengthy wait list for chefs wanting in on the action.
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