Tomoka Brewing hosted a burger challenge on Saturday to see which burger is best.
Travis Chasteen and Grayson Lamb have each been cooking for 13 years.
Their passions for the craft of creating the perfect burger came to a head on Saturday night as Tomoka Brewing held a burger challenge between the two men to see which burger was best.
“If you can name any restaurant job, I’ve probably done it,” said Lamb, a brewer at Tomoka Brewing in Port Orange and the manager of its Ormond Beach location. “I have come to accept that you do so many jobs in the industry that maybe it’s just what I am, and cooking has always been one of my favorite hobbies.”
The competition began with Lamb making a burger for the hosts of the Burn It Down podcast. After the collective ate the burger, they enjoyed it, but some in the group thought they could make a better burger.
Lamb and Chasteen were both winners of their semifinal rounds against a pair of other friends to the group. One of the semifinalists, Craig Hilbrecht, was a judge of the competition along with Burn It Down host Dabbz Kay and Orlando’s Best Comedian Ross McCoy.
Lamb and Chasteen were positioned outside the brewery underneath a tent with a table for each to work on. Lamb’s recipe included a caper aioil sauce that Lamb concocts with the help of his homegrown smoked paprika.
He toasts pretzel buns on a flat-top outdoor grill as Chasteen cooks brioche buns on his. On Chasteen’s burger sits a mayonnaise made with duck fat, in order to improve on consistency and add a more salty flavor. Along with that is an onion jam, which has the consistency of jelly on toast but the taste of an onion ring.
“I’ve been cooking since I could reach the counter,” Chasteen said. “I’ve been passionate about this since I could remember.”
Chasteen’s story begins in Brevard County, where he currently resides. There he worked at a four-star restaurant called The Mansion and he has worked at various restaurants cooking “anything you can think of”. His favorite dish to make is pork belly.
In fact, after Chasteen toasted his bread, he placed long strips of bacon on his stove, which were cut straight from his own specialty pork belly to be added to his burger. Chasteen jammed to Kendrick Lamar as the bacon sizzled.
As Lamb and Chasteen moved from the prep table to the grill, Lamb was hit with a roadblock — his grill top was flying off.
Lamb made it work though. He had to claw his grill shut with his own hands with smoke billowing around the entire tent as the onlookers laughed at his predicament.
As a courtesy to Tomoka Brewing customers, the restaurant and brewery put the burgers that Lamb and Chasteen were creating on the menu for patrons to enjoy.
Lamb's final product included his caper aoil sauce, shredded feta cheese and was topped with a dollop of spinach and artichoke dip.
For Chasteen, he used bison as his meat with pork belly bacon, duck fat mayonnaise, arugula and onion jam. He called his creation the "Home on the Range" burger.
Chasteen and Lamb were judged on presentation and taste on a scale of 1-to-10. The judges tried the burgers, tallied their votes and before the final announcement, Burn It Down gave away prizes like a specialty drinking glass, t-shirts and show decals.
“It was really such a simple thing. We tried Grayson’s burger and decided we should have a competition since everyone was talking themselves up,” said Burn It Down host Jay Flow.
The final results were incredibly close, but the judges gave Lamb the win by a measly .2 points as Lamb won 56.4 to Chasteen’s 56.2. It turns out Lamb’s burger that started everything ended up being the best of them all.
Chasteen’s passion for cooking showed in how he responded to the news. He was watching cooking videos on YouTube as the results were announced, so he barely even heard it.
“I tried my burger and am really proud of it, so I can’t have any complaints,” Chasteen said. “I’m just glad I was able to come out here and do what I love to do.”