Sunday, 24 July 2011

How Do You Want Your Burger Cooked?

Only a week ago, design company Pentagram posted a little reminder on its blog of the identity work it did for Bobby's Burger Palace back in 2008. It included this delightfully encouraging colour chart which asks How Do You Want Your Burger Cooked? A question, of course, which us burger lovers hope to be asked each time we order one. The trouble is, many Londoners are being told that we can't actually have burgers cooked how we'd ideally like them because of health and safety nonsense about having to cook a burger all the way through...

Chris Pople of the ever brilliant Cheese and Biscuits blog just posted a piece on this very subject the other day, entitled Burgers - The Fight For a Happy Medium, which is well worth a read. In the post Chris questions the supposed wisdom of the Food Standards Agency's beurocracy which suggests (demands) that all beef burgers should be cooked all the way through to avoid a vague possibility of food poisoning – regardless of diners' personal burger cooking preferences.

Also worth a read is Daniel Young's (of Young & Foodish / BurgerMonday) post about his recent experience at the new Bistro du Vin in Soho where he was served a burger made from meat that had been cooked before it was minced to try and get round the bacteria "problems" connected to not cooking burgers all the way through. The episode related would be laughable if this subject wasn't so close to my heart. Read that post here.

Bizarrely MWB Group Holdings, operators of Bistro du Vin, Malmaison and also London's Fox & Anchor pub, whose burgers have received much acclaim in recent years, look ready to relinquish their burgers' reputations and places in various Top Ten burger lists – because of some shitty-arsed health and safety directive. And, by the looks of it, they're not alone, which is all rather depressing. Anyways, have a read of those pieces if you're interested. In the meantime, here's some more images of Pentagram's branding (designed by Michael Beirut and Joe Marianek) for US burger joint chain, Bobby's Burger Palace:

Although I've never been to a branch of Bobby's Burger Palace, I'm a big fan of its branding, and - but of course - of its burger cooked-to-your-preference policy. Bravo!

Further reading:

Burgers - The Fight For a Happy Medium, by Chris Pople

My Confidence Cracked in the Bistro du Vin Burger,
by Daniel Young

Report on the Safe Cooking of Burgers, by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (commissioned by the Food Standards Agency)


youngandfoodish said...

I think the Rothkoesque aspect of my burger doneness colour strip is a better visual guide:

Chris Green said...

This ridiculous 'burger must be cooked through' nonsense in restaurants is already beyond joke.

But I wanted to share this one with you. I work in Hook in Hampshire. Down the road from my office is a gastropub called The Hogget. Great food (big focus on local produce and the provenance of its meat etc), iffy service. They do a burger, which on paper should be very good - except for the stupid way they cook it.

I had a mini row in there one day when I asked for the burger to be cooked medium well. Only to be told, by the waitress then the chef that I could have it medium or well done. Another of our party got the same when they asked for medium rare (they could have rare or medium) etc.

The thing is, regardless of how you ask for it to be cooked, everyone gets the same - cooked all the way through. It may as well be a hockey puck.

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