Meet Katherine Neil, My Burger Battle Hero

Eva talks to the first person to finish all 15 burgers in the 2017 Burger Battle

This past February, fifteen local restaurants competed in The Overcast’s month-long Burger Battle. Each restaurant offered its own creative take on the classic burger and fries entrée, and an undercover food critic was enlisted to pick a winner.

Diners were encouraged to stop into competing restaurants through out the month to try as many burgers as possible and document their journey with pics and reviews hash tagged #BurgerBattle. They were also invited to vote on the “People’s Choice” and leave comments on The Overcast’s website.

Grills smoked, social media sizzled, and the food critics made their choice. Check out the print edition of this month’s Overcast to see the Critic’s Choice, Editor’s Choice and People’s Choice.

For me, this battle had one hero and her name is Katherine Neil. While others came close, Katherine was the first person to try every single burger in the battle. Dedicated burger champ that she is, Katherine even went back on the final night of the battle to have her favourite burger a second time.

Katherine will be launching a food blog in the coming weeks, which will begin with photos and write ups of her Burger Battle experience.

Check out her pictures of the battle on Instagram @havinascoff

Tell me a bit about you, what do you look for in a burger? 

It doesn’t necessarily have to be meat, but I like it to be a solid, individual thing. I need it to not fall apart, I don’t know if that’s a normal thing to want from a burger, but for me structural integrity is key. 

What’s your go to side? 

Nothing wrong with sticking with the classic burgers and fries, but I actually find that pretty heavy sometimes. If I’m making burgers myself I don’t usually have a side.

My favourite side in the competition was the braised cabbage at Yellow Belly. It’s a weird thing to have with burgers but it really worked.

Which Burger Battle burger were you most excited to try, and did it live up to your expectations? 

After reading all the descriptions I was really excited for Tavola’s burger because I’d had their bacon jam before and thought it would be great on the burger.

What I was most excited for though, was the wagyu beef at Seto, because I’d never tried wagyu beef before. Everything else; moose and lamb and pork, I had already tried at some point.

The wagyu beef was really good, it wasn’t my favourite burger overall, but the patty was absolutely fantastic, definitely worth the money.

What was the most inventive burger? 

I’ve spent some time in Germany, so I really liked the Yellow Belly burger, it had a lot Bavarian flavour. Their sweet mustard was really good and the pork belly was great.

So I really liked Yellow Belly but the big kicker for me was actually The Sprout. Normally I’m not a veggie burger person, but they got me to eat a veggie burger and I didn’t miss the meat. It was really well executed.

What was your favourite burger? 

My favourite was Tavola’s burger, it was the overall best

Every individual thing on the burger was really good. I liked that they didn’t just slap on a slice of tomato, it was a fried tomato. I’d had the bacon jam before and oh god the bacon jam is just fantastic. It comes with an over easy egg but it’s inside the onion rings, so it all stays contained and doesn’t make a gigantic mess of it. I liked that it wasn’t on a normal bread bun, they put it on a biscuit and I found that made a huge difference.     

Did you feel accomplished when you finished the last burger? 

I did actually. I was in Chinched, I sat back and put my hands up and I said ‘That’s it, I’m done, it’s finished.’ I was really pleased with myself that I managed to get through this thing. February’s a short month and there were times when three or four days in a row I was having a burger. It was a task fitting them all in, especially with the weather in St. John’s.

Are you sick of burgers now? 

Surprisingly, no.I’m probably not going to have nearly as many in the near future, but I’m an all around foodie so I don’t think it would be possible for me to get sick of burgers.

If it had been fast food burgers it would be different but when there’s this kind of variety and everything is so fresh and well done you don’t get sick of it. 

Anything else you’d like people to know about your Burger Battle experience? 

I was really pleased with all the restaurants who participated. The burgers on a whole were really good but I found the accoutrements were the best. Everyone had a specific house-made thing, like Piatto had the maple goat cheese, The Reluctant Chef had the porchetta, The Sprout made their own mustard pickles, Tavola had the bacon jam, Yellow Belly had the house-made pickles and those were fantastic.

Everyone stepped it up, I’m really proud of everybody.

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