Burgers and Burgundy: Raising Money, Support, Awareness, and Appetites

fullsizerenderby Rhonda Dutton

Chef John Tesar hosted his 8th Annual Burgers and Burgundy event benefitting DIFFA/Dallas (The Dallas Chapter of Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) Friday evening on the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge. Chef Tesar started Burgers and Burgundy in 2009 as a way to raise funds for his Style Council membership donation. It is now a major fund raiser held at a different, highly anticipated Dallas location each year, drawing over 500 guests at the 2015 event, and donning elaborate descriptive media labels such as “Gala,” and “CelebuChef.” What we experienced was a comfortable, friendly, delicious, harmonious gathering of kind-hearted folks collaborating for a good cause. 

With a superb view of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, and an equally picturesque Texas sunset, we followed our noses through the entrance of the pedestrian bridge, across the red carpet, to the sizzling burgers of ten Texas chefs. Over the past 7 events, there have been 32 chefs overall, in addition to Chef Tesar, giving their best slider creations for the cause.

This year’s lineup included John Tesar (Knife), Blaine Staniford (Grace), Jermaine Brown (Julia Pearl), Casey Thompson (Celebrity Chef), Brian Luscher (Luscher’s Red Hots & The Grape), David Fingerman (Madrina), Sharon Van Meter (3015 at Trinity Groves), Jacob Williamson (Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck), Terry Cook (The Palm), and Rodman Shields (Common Table).

tesarChef John Tesar’s “Pimiento Burger Baby”…

Host Chef John Tesar’s slider, the Pimiento Burger Baby, introduces you to the proper ratio of meat to bun, and the benchmark of bun tenderness/strength that held up to- but did not interfere with- the juicy and moist meat. The pimiento cheese was not overpowering, it was truly a perfect balance of all that is good in the world. If world peace had a flavor, it would be this little baby angel of a slider. We immediately broke our one-bite-for-taste-and-texture-eval rule and ate the whole darned thing. I actually had to fight with my inner-fat-girl who wanted to forgo the rest of the evening and stuff 5 or 6 of these in my face.

img_6996   img_6997Brian C Luscher

Next down the hatch was Chef Brian Luscher’s Uncle Herky slider, a traditional cheese/bacon/onion/mustard/grilled bun burger taste. This burger was on Zagat’s 12 Hottest Burgers in Dallas last year, and graces almost every “best burger” list there is. Just like a Dallas socialite, right???

img_6998   img_6999

The chefs’ challenge for Burgers and Burgundy is to create their best slider, and Chef Blaine Staniford’s “twist” made his slider one you craved. His 44 Farms burger with pork belly ham, fermented chilies, and caramelized pineapple offered an out-of-my-comfort-level flavor pairing for me (you know, that fruit + meat thing), but one I wanted more of. Where can I get this again, Blaine??? I follow your people on Instagram, I will have this again somehow…

img_7001Chef Sharon Van Meter’s Wagu Burger with Foie Butter and Caramelized Shallots, smooth, buttery goodness…

img_7002Chef Jacob Williamson’s Lamb Belly Burger, like a little juicy popper…

img_7003Chef Jermaine Brown’s Bourbon Burger – I wanted more of his sauce – In a jar – In my clutch purse!

img_7004Chef David Fingerman’s Lamb Burger (delicious sauce with arugula – loved it!)

img_7147Chef Rodman Shields’ Smoked Cheddar and Candied Jalapeno Slider, perfectly proportioned…

img_7005Chef Casey Thompson’s ooey gooey Angus Burger – a fave of the tastebuds!

We washed all these heavenly sliders down with a cab from Carnivore (for obvious reasons), but other hand-selected wines and cocktails were available. Live performances were provided by Repel the Robot and The Please, Please Me, and we even had our cartoon caricatures drawn:


You will never be able to “out” us, though – Amy gave me eyelashes and perfect eyebrows, so you’ll never recognize me…

Follow Rhonda Dutton on craveDFW and her personal Instagram where she enjoys many food adventures through photos. 

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