When Alexis Gauthier accepted my challenge to create a one-off burger for the January 27th BurgerMonday at Andrew’s Gray’s Inn greasy spoon I assumed he would reinvent, deconstruct, Frenchify or otherwise gastronomise the American classic. But the chef at Gauthier Soho, one of London’s highest rated restaurants, chose to preserve the simplicity and integrity of a good burger-joint burger made with bun, patty, melted cheese, lettuce, onion and pink sauce.
Alexis did, however, seek an extra dimension, a special effect to distinguish his BurgerMonday cheeseburger. First he housed each fully assembled burger in its own plastic bag to seal in its moisture and warmth. Then, just before the burgers were served, he blew smoke into their bags from a portable food smoker burning maple wood chips.
For the starter Alexis squeezed a chopped Caesar salad between two Parmesan crisps.
He layered his burger with an aged Argentine Wagyu beef patty, a slice of Manchego cheese, lettuce, red onion and Sauce Choron, a tomato-tinted Béarnaise. He maple-smoked the ensemble in a plastic bag and sent it out with golden panisses (chickpea fries).
For dessert Alexis and his team filled éclairs on the spot with more praline cream and whipped cream than the choux pastry was meant to hold. Oddly no one of the 80 served an éclair complained about the cream spilling from all sides.
“This éclair is not made with tweezers,” said Alexis. “It’s a real one, the one you’re going to have at home for your birthday.”
As burgers go the absolutely sensational smoked cheeseburger-in-a-bag was a real one, too, the one you’re going to have at home for your birthday, but only if Alexis brings his Wagyu, plastic bags, hand-held smoker and good cheer to the party.
All photos by Ian Sargent. Click here to see all of Ian’s photos from BurgerMonday with Alexis Gauthier.