The Estherville Lincoln Central High School kitchen sizzled with anticipation as six students in the culinary class crafted their best burgers, each hoping to gain the honor of having his or her burger served as the entree in the All-American Meal.
Teacher Michelle Frideres seated a panel of five judges to taste the six succulent sliders and choose a winner.
The judging panel included Brendan Waltz, chef at Minerva's in Okoboji; Terry and Suzie Kraft of Ruthven Meat Locker, ELC?High School Principal Brad Leonard, and Amy H. Peterson, staff writer for the Estherville News.
Some of the students made use of a product from Ruthven Meat Locker, hi-temp cheese. High Temperature Cheese allows the cook to put cheese inside meat products and the cheese with a melting point of 175-225, keeping its shape during most of the cooking process.
Emma Christensen's taco burger boasted taco seasoning and onions, and a burst of high-temp cheese.
Zack Snyder brought to life his vision of a Philly cheese steak burger with sauteed green pepper and onion, as well as Swiss cheese. (See a video of Snyder prepping his burger on our website, www.esthervillenews.net.)
Drew Condon explains his process for making his cheddar onion burger to Brendan Waltz, chef at Minerva’s in Okoboji, and Suzie Kraft of Ruthven Meat Locker.
Drew Condon created a chock-full of cheese and onion burger.
Trevor Shryock took the biggest risk and put in the most labor for his herb-stuffed cheeseburger, according to Chef Brendan.While there were no rude Simon Cowell comments among the judging panel, they were perhaps hardest on Shryock. Chef Brendan said later he was impressed with Shryock's vision and effort.
Brendan Duer's classic bacon cheeseburger was a crowd pleaser with crispy bacon and another burst of cheddar cheese. Duer also grilled the slider bun in the bacon grease, which added crispness and flavor to the experience of eating it.
But Katie Glenn took the prize with her jalapeno cheddar burger. Glenn made the jalapeno's bite mild by taking out the seeds and stem. Chef Brendan said this reduces the capsaisin, the stuff that makes hot peppers very hot.
Glenn's burger was exciting to see, with the burger edges hanging off the slider bun.
Each contestant also used their social and presentation skills, explaining to the judges their processes for creating their burgers.
A sense of modesty took over a couple of the contestants, who peppered their presentations with "sort of"?and "I guess,"?and "it might not have been that great."?Judges encouraged the contestants to take pride in their work and help the diners be excited to try a new dish.
The Midget Caf, operated by the culinary students,, is offering the winning burger, or a choice of a classic hamburger or cheeseburger, with French fries, fruit kabobs and ice cream sundae on Thursday, April 13 for $8. Call the high school at 712-362-2659 or go online to sites.google.com/elc-csd.org/midgetcafe/home.