Chefs heat up the competition in burger bash

By From page B6 | January 01, 2014

burgerCompetition heated up recently at the Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival’s signature event, Blue Moon Burger Bash.

In this grill-off, the country’s best chefs battled to see who makes the best burger. Participant Chef Paul Denamiel won Pat LaFrieda’s 2013 NYCWFF Burger Bash Judges’ Choice Award with a nearly perfect score for his French onion soup burger on a Thomas’ English Muffin.

“The crunchy texture from Thomas’ English Muffin, combined with sweet onions, a juicy burger and creamy béchamel sauce makes the French onion soup burger one of the most popular entrées at my NYC restaurants Le Rivage and Little Prince,” said Denamiel. “But I was still surprised to win since there were so many talented chefs.”

Denamiel is the owner and executive chef of Le Rivage, a traditional French restaurant that has been located on NYC’s historic “Restaurant Row” for almost 30 years.

Now, you can make your own version of the mouth-watering creation with Denamiel’s signature recipe.


French onion soup burger

Executive Chef Paul Denamiel of Le Rivage and Little Prince

six servings


6 -8 ounce burgers: blend of brisket, chuck and short rib
6 slices of Emmental cheese
6 large sandwich size Thomas’ English Muffins, toasted

For the onions

4 large Spanish onions
1 cup beef or chicken stock
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the béchamel

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk, heated
salt and pepper to taste


In a heavy saucepan melt the butter. Using a whisk, whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour does not have the raw flavor, about 2 minutes. Let mixture bubble but do not let the mixture brown. Whisk in heated milk, mixing until there are no lumps and mixture is smooth. Continue to stir as the sauce thickens and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from heat.

To cool for later use, cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on top. Set aside.

For the onions

Peel the onions and cut in half length-wise into thin half moon slices. In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, sauté the onion with the olive oil. Add thyme sprigs and keep on heat until they are soft and caramelized. Add the stock and continue cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated. This may take about 20 minutes total cooking time. Remove thyme sprigs. Set aside.

For the burger

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Lightly brush the pan with olive oil. Generously salt and pepper both sides of each burger. Place burger on grill pan and cook 5-6 minutes on each side for medium burger. After burger is flipped, place cheese on top of burger and cook until desired internal temperature is reached and cheese is melted.

For assembly

Butter the toasted Thomas’ English Muffins. Place a tablespoon of béchamel sauce on bottom side of muffin. Place the burger on top and then place a tablespoon of the sautéed onions on top of the burger. Place the other half of the muffin on top of the onions.

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