Burger Bar, Build Your Own Ultimate Burger By Hubert Keller with Penelope Wisner (John Wiley & Sons, 2009)
And what can I tell you about our book? That it was tremendous and deliciously fun project. Hubert wanted the book to follow the build-your-own menu format of his Burger Bar restaurants so that cooks could pick and choose patties, toppings, sauces, garnishes, and buns to suit their taste. And even to borrow ideas and techniques and apply them to some other dish or circumstance. So, although we photographed fully accessorized burgers (and Hubert did all the food preparation and food styling for the photos), we made sure to include variations, substitutions, and ideas for how to use the individual elements in other ways.
He also wanted to be sure that people would understand how to give their burgers the same amazing, juice-dripping-down-your-chin taste and texture as those at Burger Bar. Hubert builds quality into his burgers beginning with the whole cuts of meat ground fresh daily and hand-shaped into patties at each Burger Bar. So our book started there, too. We are both especially proud that our book has earned high marks in consumer-written reviews for the breadth, depth, and reliability of the recipes.
As I wrote and tested recipes, my family and friends ate their way through beef and buffalo burgers, pesto lamb burgers, towering turkey club burgers, spicy chicken burgers, and succulent seafood burgers. And the crab burger feast! That was truly memorable. Burgers have now become one of our favorite meals and make regular appearances on our weekly menus.
When we started work on the Burger Bar cookbook, Hubert’s first Burger Bar restaurant in Las Vegas had been open about a year. Hubert, his wife Chantal, and executive chef Laurent Pillard had immersed themselves in burger culture and sensed that this “gourmet” burger trend could turn into something very exciting.
Now there are three Burger Bars; a second opened in St. Louis, and a third opened in the fall of 2009 right here in San Francisco (hooray!!) on the sixth floor of Macy’s overlooking Union Square. The burger trend has well and truly taken shape.