Born in Berkeley Burgers

Build A Better Burger(r) Contest Offers $50,000 Prize

(NAPSA) – If you have ever wondered what it takes to make the next $50,000 burger, keep reading.

When one woman entered the 2006 Sutter Home Build a Better Burger National Recipe Contest and Cook-Off(r), she created a recipe from the heart. Little did she know, her brains would help her beat nearly 9,000 other entries for the coveted $50,000 grand prize.

Camilla Saulsbury’s Born in Berkeley Burger wowed the judges with her clever twist on a classic bacon cheeseburger, which included fresh figs, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon-grilled fennel and baby arugula. The inspiration for the recipe came from growing up in California and picking fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs with her father. Getting Saulsbury’s crowd-pleasing burger to the finals can be attributed to using her brains and tapping the skills she honed in earning a doctorate in home cooking.

‘Camilla’s recipe stood out because it was easy to follow and used a unique blend of flavors,’ said Jeffrey Starr, culinary director for the contest. ‘But most importantly, the burger was amazing.’

‘I guess all those years in school taught me to follow instructions and write well,’ Saulsbury confesses modestly. ‘Beyond that, I just love to cook.’

After making it to the finals, it comes down to making the best-tasting and best-looking burger for the judges, all while the clock is ticking. Here’s the winning recipe:

Born in Berkeley Burgers

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  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 3/4 cup basil leaves packed fresh, chopped
  • 3/4 cup tomatoes drained chopped sun-dried (in oil)
  • 1/2 cup onion grated
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Lemon-Grilled Fennel

  • 3 lemons
  • 4 fennel bulbs tops removed, sliced into rings
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 slices bacon thick-cut

Arugula-Fig Topping

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt
  • 6 fresh figs stemmed, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 cups baby arugula prewashed, bagged, roughly torn
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing on the grill
  • 3/4 pound Teleme cheese aged, thinly sliced (Camembert or Brie may be substituted)
  • 6 hamburger buns split
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil for brushing on the grill
  • 3/4 pound Teleme cheese aged, thinly sliced (Camembert or Brie may be substituted)
  • 6 hamburger buns split


  • Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to medium high.
  • Combine chuck, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, onion, garlic and salt in a large bowl. Shape into 6 patties. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.
  • Grate 2 teaspoons zest from the lemons. Juice the lemons to yield 2 tablespoons juice.
  • Put fennel rings in a medium-sized bowl. Toss with lemon juice, oil and salt. Put fennel in a grill basket and grill, shaking the basket occasionally, until soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer fennel to a sheet of foil, sprinkle with lemon zest and wrap.
  • Heat a large, heavy, nonstick, fireproof skillet on the grill. Add bacon. Cook until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Wrap in foil. To make the topping, drain bacon fat from the skillet, wipe out the skillet and set it back on the grill. Add walnuts and toast until golden and fragrant; set aside. Whisk vinegar with oil in a small bowl and season with salt to taste. Combine figs, arugula and toasted walnuts in a medium bowl. Coat with dressing.
  • Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Place patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Place cheese slices on patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place buns, cut side down, on outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.
  • To assemble the burgers, place equal portions of the warm grilled fennel on each bun bottom, followed by a cheese-topped patty, 2 bacon slices, and an equal portion of the fig-arugula topping. Add the bun tops and serve.


For complete contest entry rules, visit or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Build a Better Burger, Sutter Home Winery, P.O. Box 248, St. Helena, Calif., 94574-0248. Build a Better Burger is not open to residents of California or Utah. Build a Better Burger is sponsored by Sutter Home Family Vineyards, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the California Avocado Commission, Colavita Olive Oil, Grey Poupon, Snyder's of Hanover, Vlasic, BIC(r) Multi-Purpose Lighter and Kettle Chips.

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