Previewing Katie Lee Joel's 2009 Burger Bash Entry

The biggest event of the South Beach Wine and Food Fest—which begins in just 16 days people—is hands down the great Burger Bash. To get everyone appropriately pumped for this year's event, we'll be interviewing the top contenders. We've already spoken to the Feb '08 winner Michael Schlow. Next up, defending champion from this fall's New York Wine And Food Festival, Katie Lee Joel.

What's your strategy? My strategy—just have fun! I never in a million years expected to win the New York Burger Bash. I looked at it as a fun experience and an opportunity to meet nice people and spend time with some of the best chefs in country. If I win again, great, if not, at least I will have had a good time.

Have you learned anything from previous competition? The most important thing is to be prepared. Just as if I was having a dinner party at home, I like to have as much done ahead of time as possible. I don't let myself get too stressed out either.

What are you serving? Any accompaniments? I'll be making the same burgers I made at the New York Burger Bash, my Logan County Burgers with a side of homemade potato chips (Ed: A little more on that burger here). I'm tossing around the idea of adding some bacon but not positive on that yet.

Who are you worried about in the competition? What's the burger to beat? I think Michael Schlow's burger from Radius is the burger to beat. He's the returning champ from last year and his burger really is incredibly delicious. Michael and I are great friends, and we've been teasing each other about who's going to win.

Favorite burger (besides your own): I eat at BLT Burger on a weekly basis. I love that the burger is so simple and the taste of the meat really shines without any fancy ingredients. Bonus: they have great waffle fries.

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