We're issuing a belated thank-you to everyone who came out to The Distillery back in April for the 2012 Houston Press Burger Bracket, and another round of congratulations for the winner -- Bernie's Burger Bus. Why? Because our Burger Bracket -- now in its second year -- was identified as "one of the nation's premier food competitions" by the World Food Championship contest, held each year in Las Vegas. Because of this recognition, the 2012 Burger Bracket was selected as an "automatic qualifier" to the 2012 World Food Championships -- hosted by Travel Channel star Adam Richman -- taking place on November 1 through 4 at Bally's, Paris and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
In each year's Burger Bracket, we select 16 local burger joints and four teams of judges from our readers. Over the course of several weeks (with coverage along the way), the teams narrow it down to four finalists. The final round of the bracket is a party that's open to the public where our guests chow down on the top four burgers and vote for the winner.
This past April, that winner was Bernie's Burger Bus, who -- if owner Justin Turner decides to take up the challenge -- will be competing against other regional winners in the national World Burger Championship (one of seven different divisions leading up to the World Food Championship). The winner of each divisional championship will win $75,000 and move on to the Final Table, where each will compete for a $300,000 grand prize and the title of World Food Champion.
Turner is busy getting his third Bernie's Burger Bus up and running at the moment, but the competition in Vegas is still plenty of months away should he decide to compete. When I caught him by phone earlier today, he seemed baffled and bemused by the honor.
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Should Turner choose to go, he'd be competing against 39 other burger winners from competitions across the nation, including Eater's Greatest Burger in America competition; the Battle of the Burgers in Atlanta; the Best of Big D 2012 in Dallas; and the top entry on LA Weekly's list of the 10 Best Burgers in Los Angeles.
Either way, it's an honor just to be recognized -- both for us and for Bernie's Burger Bus.