2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival® Amstel Light Burger Bash – A View From the Judges Table

On Friday, February 20, 2015, a giant tent on the beach in Miami held what we like to call “The Super Bowl of Hamburgers.” The event is more commonly known as the South Beach Wine & Food Festival® Amstel Light Burger Bash. This year marked the 9th year of the Burger Bash® and with it came big names, big fun and of course BIG BURGERS!


For this year’s Burger Bash®, Schweid & Sons was invited to come on board as the presenting sponsor. That means we were able to select the burger Judges, choose a restaurant to represent our brand and offer our ground beef for each of the participating Chefs to use in their burger.

If you were there, you know what an amazing evening it was, but if you weren’t, here’s an insider view from the Judge’s booth and stage.

We could’ve picked anybody we wanted to be a Judge but since they were going to be choosing the winner of The Very Best Burger Award, we needed to make sure we had the very best Judges.

– The Judges, from left to right: Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard, father of Dan Le BatardGeorge Motz & Geoffrey Zakarian

– The Judges, from left to right: Geoffrey Zakarian Katie Lee & Chrissy Teigen.

With 21 Chefs participating in the contest, there was no way we could have each Judge taste all 21 burgers without their tastes buds and stomachs giving up. We had to come up with a plan.


We broke the contestants up into groups and each group was designated to one Judge. That judge ate each burger in that group and picked their favorite. Once we tallied up the votes, each of the judges then had to taste each of the other Judge’s favorites as well as their own again. They then rated those burgers.


Once they rated all the burgers, based on the criteria system that we calculated from your votes, we added up the numbers and a winner was determined. If you’re doing the math, that means 46 burgers were served to 5 Judges. Once the numbers were calculated all the Judges had a chance to hang out in our booth, talk to fans and relax while all the Chefs competed for the popular vote.

– Dan & Papi Le Batard

– George Motz, Katie Lee & Geoffrey Zakarian

– Donna, David & Jamie Schweid

– Tina Schweid, Donald Moore, Brad Schweid, Michelle Moore

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– David Schweid, Chrissy Teigen, Katie Lee & Jamie Schweid

-Rev Ciancio & George Motz

While everyone has hanging out just having fun, South Beach Wine and Food Festival Founder & Director Lee Schrager showed up along with Burger Bash host Rachael Ray.


Before the award announcements were made on stage, we had a chance to walk around and visit some of the Chefs serving our ground beef in their burgers.

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– Frank Scibelli and Tim Kast of Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, Charlotte, NC
The Bash Daddy: Short Rib, Brisket, and Chuck Blend Patty with Raclette and Comte Cheese, Amstel & Bacon with Braised Caramelized Onions & Mustard Aioli
SIDE: Truffled Potato Chips

– Nedal Ahmad of Pincho Factory, Miami, FL
Croquetesa: A Brisket, Short Rib and Chuck Croquette is the Patty for this Miami Marvel! Topped with Swiss Cheese, Pickles, Mustard and Mayo and cuddled by a Brioche Bun.
SIDE: Sweet Chili Cheese Plantains

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– Michell Sanchez of Latin House Grill Miami, FL
Madlove Champ: Blend of Brisket, Chuck, Sirloin, Three-Cheese, Applewood Maple-Glazed Bacon, Butter Lettuce, Plum Tomatoes, Avocado, Candied Jalapeño
SIDE: Spicy Carrots

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– Alex Bello of Florida International University on behalf of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews, Greenwood Village, CO
The Buffalo Mac ’N Cheesey Burger

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– Anthony Meidenbauer of Holsteins Shakes & Buns,  Las Vegas, NV
The Gold Standard: Aged Beef, Grilled Onion, Bacon Jam and Bleu Cheese Aioli
SIDE: Crispy Pig Tails “Buffalo-Style” with Bleu Cheese Crumbles

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– Aaron Taylor of STK Miami
lil’ BRGs: Wagyu Beef, Special Sauce, Sesame Seed Bun
SIDE: STK Tater Tots with White Cheddar, Aged Monterey Jack Cheese, Chili Remoulade Sauce

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– Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar South Beach, Miami Beach, FL
Bash Burger: Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam, Shaved Pickles, American Cheese and Secret Sauce
SIDE: Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

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– Ken Oringer of Toro NYC, New York, NY
Toro Burger: Dry-Aged Beef Burger, Onion Soup Mayo, Jalapeño Chips and Foie Gras Onions
SIDE: Buffalo Pickles

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– Tim Love of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth, TX
Rib Eye Burger: Lamb Bacon, Arugula, Roasted Red Pepper Hollandaise, English Muffin
SIDE: Smoked Crispy Potatoes with Roasted Garlic Aioli

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– Russel Booth of Hard Rock Cafe, Hollywood, FL
Legendary Mac and Cheese Stack: Ancho-Spiked Brisket and Short Rib-Blended Burger topped with Cuban Picadillo, Brie and Fontina Macaroni and Cheese
SIDE: Spicy Cuban Papas Rellenas

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– Al Roker, New York, NY
Lamb Burger with Major Grey Chutney on a Pretzel Roll
SIDE: Baked Beans

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– Alberto Cabrera of Little Bread, Little Havana, FL
Dry-Aged Burger: Cheddar, Shaved Red Onions, Mustard Caviar, LB Pickles, Smoked Ham Hock Marmalade, Nigella Seed Brioche
SIDE: Manteca Fries with Cuban Sriracha Ketchup

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– Quality Meats Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL
Quality Bacon & Blue Burger: Chuck, Brisket and Short Rib Burger with House-Cured Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing
SIDE: QM Parmesan Waffle Fries

– Delicatessen, New York, NY
Beer and Bacon Cheeseburger: Beer Braised Onions, Aged Cheddar Cheese
SIDE: Truffle Tots with Parmigiano Reggiano & Herbs

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– Garbo’s Grill Key West, FL
Garbo’s Gouda Burger: Angus 80/20, Heirloom Tomato, Applewood Bacon and Chipotle Gouda
SIDE: Jicama Slaw

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EMMY Burger: Dry-Aged Beef, Pretzel Bun, Emmy Sauce, Charred Onions, Grafton Cheddar
SIDE: Cornichons

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– Garces Group,  Philadelphia, PA
Whiskey King: Maple Bourbon-Glazed Cipollini, Rogue Bleu Cheese, Foie Gras
SIDE: Pickled Cauliflower, Black Truffle

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– Adam Sappington of The Country Cat,  Portland, OR
Beef Belly Burger: with Spicy Pepper Jack Cheese and Smoky Bacon Tomato Jam
SIDE: Shaved Fennel, Dill Pickle and Cabbage Slaw

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– Harold Moore of Commerce Restaurant,  New York, NY
Harold’s Jersey Burger: Hamburger Patty topped with Taylor Ham and Cheese
SIDE: Strawberry Milkshake

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– Daniel Holzman of The Meatball Shop, New York, NY
Reuben Burger: Beef Patty with Pastrami Spice, Swiss, Thousand Island, Sauerkraut
SIDE: Caraway Cabbage Slaw

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– Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, Hollywood, FL
Council Oak Steakhouse Burger: Brisket, Marrow Aioli, Vintage Cheddar, Pickles

Once the burgers had been eaten and the votes had been cast, it was time for the Chefs, Judges & Sponsors to head to the stage to announce the winners.


Best of the Bash Award presented by Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

– Winner: Michell Sanchez of Latin House Grill Miami, FL

The People’s Choice presented by Amstel Light

– Winner: Nedal Ahmad of Pincho Factory, Miami, FL

The Very Best Burger presented by Schweid & Sons

– Winner: Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar South Beach, Miami Beach, FL

And there ya have it … the Catalina Wine Mixer of Burger events; the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival® Amstel Light Burger Bash!

Congrats to all the winners, especially, Josh Capon. The Schweid & Sons Very Best Burger was the first Judge’s Choice Award that he’s ever won, but his 5th victory over all.

For more photos, check out the official pictures on the event website.





A massive, massive, massive, super, extra big thank you to Randy & Kali from Cream.They are the people behind the Burger Bash®. They are the magic, the glue, the energy and everything that makes it such a special day. Thank you!!

Alex Durant from Durant Consulting is the best, seriously. She was our sponsor manager and with out here high level of organization, quick answers and genuine desire to help, we wouldn’t have gotten through this. Special shout out to Dorothy from Durant who truly kept the Judges booth from turning into utter chaos.

Almost all of these fantastic looking photos were taken by Rod Deal. We can all thank him for making us hungry with these great looking burger pictures.

Devonie Nicholas – you have super PR powers and we are thankful for all you did.


We owe many thank yous to the team at Warren Moore Events for building us a slick looking and super cool judges booth. Your entire team did a great job and the stakes are high for 2016!

A pretty darn special shout out goes to Night Agency. With no less than like 90 bajillion phone calls & meetings, they designed our Judges’ booth and were the creative team behind The Very Best Burger Trophy which looks AMAZING!!!


We asked Frank Scibelli & everyone at Bad Daddy’s Burgers Bar to represent us at the event and they didn’t just do a good job, they did an amazing job!! Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar makes some seriously awesome burgers, just like the Bash Daddy so when you are next near one of their locations, you should stop in. A burger experience like none other awaits you. We are honored to call you partners.

To the Judges: Katie, Chrissy, Geoffrey, George, Dan & Papi:  You kept us laughing, you ate the burgers, you listen to the fans, you talked about us online and you really are what made this really, really fun. Thank you for your ideas, your time and your burger rating skills.

Thanks to Lee Schrager for asking us to be a part of your awesome event.

Thank you Rachael Ray for being as genuine as a person can be and sharing a passion for our favorite sandwich, the hamburger!

Thanks to every single Chef that let us work with you and served people our meat. This was your moment and we are honored to have been able to help.

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