Official Judges – South Beach Wine & Food Festival® Amstel Light Burger Bash

We’re proud to announce the panel of expert tasters that we’ve hand selected hand selected to be the official judges for the 2016 South Beach Wine & Food Festival® Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons and hosted by Rachael Ray.


  • David Burtka, actor, chef and host of Cooking Channel’s “Celebrity Dish”
  • Neil Patrick Harris, actor and host of “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris”
  • Natalie Morales, anchor of NBC’s “Today Show”
  • George Motz, author of “Hamburger American” and the host of Travel Channel’s “Burger Land”
  • Marcus Samuelsson, celebrity chef and judge on Food Network’s “Chopped”
  • Mike Piazza, baseball Hall of Famer and former New York Met
  • Alicia Piazza, model and former actor, staring on “Baywatch Hawaii” and “The Young and the Restless”

The judges have the difficult task of tasting every single Burger served at the festival that’s being made with the custom blends of ground beef that we created for the Chefs and restaurants. That’s 29 total Burgers!! From them, they will collectively select one Burger to receive the Schweid & Sons Very Best Burger award.


We asked the judges a number of questions about what makes the Very Best Burger and also for some Burger cooking tips of their own. Click on their names for the full interview and check out their Burger cooking tips below.

Natalie Morales
“I use Worchester Sauce and Lipton mushroom and onion soup mix. And sometimes I add a little dark ale while grilling.”

Marcus Samuelsson
The Cattle Call – Interview with Marcus Samuelson, Chef and Restaurateur
“I like my burger simple. 75% aged beef, 25% fat and chopped by hand. There’s nothing worse than a burger made with beef that has been ground too fine – it makes the end product very dense. You know you have a good burger when you bite into it, and there’s just this perfect balance. The worst thing is when everything follows out as you take a bite; the burger should stay together perfectly. I like my burger served on a potato bun, toasted with butter. Whatever bread you use, it should be able to hold up to the juices of the meat so as not to get soggy. As for toppings, I’m traditional – just onions, tomatoes and lettuce.”

George Motz
“With the right elements you can create a burger that tastes exactly like a juicy steak. And since the true taste of beef will dominate, this would be a good time to experiment with different cuts of beef blended into the grind. 80/20 fresh-ground chuck is the call, but if you’re grinding your own, you should consider adding a small amount of short rib, brisket, or rib eye to make the flavor profile more complex. Now that’s something you can’t do with a steak.”

Mike Piazza
“Grill the burger meat with wood chips on the barbecue. And of course have perfect grill marks on the meat for nice presentation.”

Mike’s Burger Build:  Lean ground beef, salt pepper, sliced cucumber for crunch, slice of a thick grilled tomato, and a drizzle of olive oil on a fresh toasted wheat bun.

Alicia Piazza
Alicia’s Burger Build: Kobe beef, (mix 2 eggs and minced white onion in the meat) Brie cheese, sliced green apples and roasted jalapenos pretzel bread bun.


you might also like:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.