The chef behind a Wellington burger that costs so much you can smell inflation on it says bold cooking is just what the hospitality industry needs right now.
Jardin Grill, the restaurant inside the five-star Sofitel on Bolton St, has entered a burger titled “Le Burger Bourgeoisie” in August’s Burger Wellington competition for Wellington on a Plate.
Despite the fact that the burger has yet to be tasted by anyone, even its creators, it immediately caught the eye online for its eclectic mix of luxury ingredients, and its tantalizing price tag of $185 ($195 when it is washed down with a beer).
If it looks like it has to be gold-plated to cost that much, that’s because, well, it is.
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Burger ingredients include a Japanese Wagyu A5 beef patty with crayfish remoulade, free range duck egg aioli, Sturia Oscietra caviar, homemade Kurobuta pork belly bacon, Kāpiti Te Tihi Aged Cheddar, kawakawa tea infused cucumber and tomato , baby gem lettuce and whiskey barbecue sauce in a homemade 24k gold plated bun.
Not everyone is a fan, with some on social media saying now is not the right time to indulge as many grapple with a cost of living crisis.
Jardin Grill executive chef Royxeenn Giam said his team had been loyal to Burger Wellington for several years, trying to match the prices of other restaurants.
This year, he sat down with his team, and they decided to go big and decadent to push the envelope.
“We’ve had three years of Covid and I just feel like we need a bit of hype,” Royxeenn said.
“We shouldn’t be shy and shouldn’t be ashamed of doing it.
“Yes, the cost of living is high at the moment, when you buy ingredients you can see it.
“But I see a lot of people in the industry trying to be cost conscious instead of focusing on real cooking and expanding what we do.”
The wagyu and its accompaniments were ingredients that Jardin, known for its high-end, wood-fired meals, was familiar with, he said.
His goal over the next few months would be to get a wide range of wagyu for the patty, before perfecting the burger for Wellington when launching a plate on August 1.
An online commenter noted his disappointment that Royxeenn did not include the truffles, presumably “to save cost”.
“We thought about putting in a truffle, but I don’t think the New Zealand truffle has enough flavor – it’s not the same as Italian truffles,” Royxeenn said.
“I didn’t want to throw anything away just because it’s expensive, it has to work.”
Sofitel Wellington general manager Raymond Faulkner said the burger was a unique product which he hoped would “elevate Wellington to its rightful status and onto the restaurant scene”.
“We think it has appeal. Maybe it’s for a very narrow market, but we think it will appeal to that market.”
The immensely popular Burger Wellington has been known for serving weird and wacky burgers since its inception in 2008.
Entrees last year included a burger with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on it, and a tahr burger that aimed to be the most expensive in the world (for charity).
This year’s quirky creations include a fondue burger, a lasagna burger, and even one that’s blue.
Wellington on a Plate spokeswoman Jade Lucas said Royxeenn’s $185 burger looked “incredible”, and given the incredible ingredients used, it was no surprise to see the price tag.
“These ingredients are not cheap.
“Burger Wellington is about having fun, encouraging people to be creative and bringing a ready-made burger. The aptly named Bourgeoisie Burger certainly ticks that box.
Inflation has driven up the price of some burgers, with about 80 of the 205 burgers available this year costing $25 or more.
Lucas said there are plenty of options for people on a budget, with burgers starting at just $14.
“The hospitality sector has been hit hard over the past two years. Hosting festivals like this encourages people to get out and support their local businesses while enjoying fantastic food at the same time. »