There’s an undeniable food trend sweeping the culinary world, seeing who can create the most indulgent “dirty” burger a waistband can cope with. And with new burger joints opening up at a rate of knots, it seems that as a nation we are delighting in this glutinous form of competition.
To delve deeper into this meaty scene, we sat down with Steve Mulholland, operational head chef of Almost Famous Burgers, to chew the fat on how they come about their carnivorous creations.
As we sit down in the Leeds restaurant, Steve quickly bursts any bubble that these beasty burgers are cooked up in a frenzy of experiments and accidents, explaining it’s a long and informed process.
“The weirdest one for me is the pop tart but that worked and ended up on the menu. There aren’t normally any weird ones that don’t end up on the menu because its something which acts as an addition.”
“You already know the kind of ingredients it’s going to go with, so we build the basics of a good burger and then look for ways to tweak it. Either that or someone has a light bulb moment.”
Although quirky additions are what the restaurant are well… almost famous for, it’s clear that he is very much all about getting the main component right first. Earlier in the night Steve excitedly explained how they whittled down their cuts of meat from a choice of 15. It’s these changes in meat which apparently are making the burgers 27% juicer (although we’re not sure exactly how scientific their testing was).
A lot of the development ideas come from owner, Beau Mayers many trips across the pond. The recent addition of pretzel buns were taken from an emerging trend in America.
However, it’s their small, head office kitchen that acts as the meaty Charlie and the chocolate factory-esque setting for the first stages of development.
“All the conceptual stuff comes first, then we’ve got a little kitchen in head office where we have sort of cook offs. When it comes to doing the more serious bits and having tastings we move to the restaurant in Northern Quarter (Manchester). It’s closed during the day and we can get nice images and fine tune the taste of everything.”
As for what comes next on the menu, if it’s up to Steve, then it is all about going back to where it all began… the meat.
“I would like to look into different meats and cuts, for instance lamb, and see how we can add them into the menu.” So, there you have it. Although creating a coma-inducingly good burger is one of the more exciting jobs Steve has had, there is always method behind the madness.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what creations are his personal favourite, the answer simply seems to be anything including steak.