Just steps from the ocean on a perfect 78-degree Friday night in Miami, Rachael Ray hosted her annual Burger Bash party at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival—where dozens of chefs from around the country competed for top honors and serious burger bragging rights.
“I love Burger Bash because food connects us as Americans,” Ray told PEOPLE at the beachside event. “Watching these amazing chefs flipping patties breaks down walls. They make us all like them and their burgers.”
Although celeb chefs like Al Roker (who served the meatless Beyond Burger, a meat-like product meant to mimic the texture and flavor of ground beef), Marc Forgione and Masaharu Morimoto all went head-to-head with their custom creations, the crowd voted local favorite Jr’s Gourmet Burger in Miami Springs, FL the 2017 People’s Choice Award winner.
Their burger—dubbed “That Guy’s Burger”—included a seasoned angus patty topped with cream cheese and guava, which was then sandwiched between white bread wrapped in bacon, and served with a side of guava ketchup.
A panel of celebrity burger lovers—including Ayesha Curry, musician and producer Emilio Estefan, Adam Richman and Rev Run—taste tested each specialty burger before presenting the Schweid & Son’s Very Best Burger Award to Little Jack’s Tavern of Charleston, SC. Their “Tavern Burger” was a smashed beef patty topped with American cheese, onions and sunchoke relish, and served with a side of garlic-herb fries.
The third winner of the night was Tucker Duke’s Lunch Box in Deerfield Beach, FL, who won Red Robin’s Best of the Bash Award. Their calorie-bomb “Marmaduke” burger was made with a chuck-and-brisket blend patty, topped with fig chutney, warm brie fondue, shaved red onions and arugula on a Martin’s potato roll and served with a side of jalapeño bacon mac and cheese.
In October, Ray awarded Black Tap—the restaurant known for their crazy, over-the-top milkshakes—with the People’s Choice Award during the New York City Wine & Food Festival.