Florida International University students Yolanda Suarez and Michelle Diaz teamed up for Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews’ fourth annual Golden Robin Contest and beat out more than 300 entries to earn a $10,000 scholarship and the opportunity to serve their Loaded Baked Potato Burger at the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE. Their original recipe will be featured on behalf of Red Robin during the festival’s Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons hosted by Rachael Ray on February 26.
At the festival, Red Robin will present its Best of the Bash Award for the fourth consecutive year. All chefs participating in America’s most prestigious burger competition can enter their burger for a chance to win $10,000 and be featured on Red Robin’s Finest premium burger menu. Andrew Zimmern, creator, host, and executive producer of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, will anchor a revered panel of judges that includes past Best of the Bash Award winners Brad Halsten, owner of The Burger Dive in Billings, Montana, and Michell Sanchez, owner of the Latin House Grill in Miami. The winning chef will be announced by Zimmern during the awards ceremony on the Burger Bash stage.
“As the gourmet burger authority, Red Robin constantly looks for burger inspiration from the country’s most established chefs to its future rising stars,” says Jonathan Muhtar, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Red Robin. “Each year we challenge Florida International University students for new burger ideas that bring the Yummm and this year’s Golden Robin Contest did not disappoint. We applaud Michelle and Yolanda for combining two American favorites—loaded baked potato skins and burgers—into one unique, Red Robin-worthy burger that we are proud to showcase among the best in the business at the Amstel Light Burger Bash.”
Red Robin’s Golden Robin Contest is a key component of the ongoing partnership between Red Robin, the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival and FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, one of the highest rated hospitality and tourism programs in the United States. For this year’s contest, Red Robin challenged students to submit their best recipe for a gourmet burger. Diaz and Suarez sought inspiration from popular bar food favorites for their award-winning Loaded Baked Potato Burger, which features melted cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, sour cream, chives and Red Robin’s signature steak fries stacked high on a juicy, fire-grilled burger served on a potato bun.
"Opportunities like this support our endeavor to produce innovation-focused graduates with a critical understanding of the industry, and give our students real-world challenges with the chance to make an impact on the industry and their future careers,” adds Mike Hampton, dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at FIU. “We are extremely grateful to Red Robin and the Festival for the continuous support of the Chaplin School.”