KirbyG’s Diner named 2018 World Burger Champion in the World’s Largest Food Sport Competition
Neil Daniell and his team from KirbyG’s Diner in McDonough, Ga., took top honors as World Burger Champion and received a prize of $10,000 in the 7th Annual World Food Championships held at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Al. Nearly 1,500 cooks squared off in the culinary battle for both bragging rights and a shot at more than $350,000 in cash and prizes, the biggest payout in Food Sport history. The competitors cooked on-site during timed events and faced the challenge of preparation speed, specialty recipes, presentation and the ultimate taste test for E.A.T. certified judges.
“We are ecstatic right now,” said Daniell. “We felt like going into the final round that we could potentially make the top five if we executed perfectly but it was going to be tough to win the top prize because we needed to make up about seven points. Our first burger, a Bacon Jam Juicy Lucy Burger, scored very well, and we managed to eke out a solid score in the second round even with our hiccup.”
By hiccup, Daniell was referring to the fact that the team from KirbyG’s Diner made the turn-in time with only seven seconds to spare on their signature burger, a Smoked Pulled-Bacon Cheeseburger. “We came very close to being disqualified, and it’s amazing that we won it all with a fantastic final burger, a Chunky Guacamole Cheeseburger with Candied Bacon.
While Daniell may be shocked, it should come as no surprise that KirbyG’s Diner has won several awards over the years. The family diner has been voted 100 Plates Locals Love by Georgia Tourism, and twice been voted Best Burger by the AJC readers. The metro Atlanta area diner was also featured on both Atlanta Eats and the Travel Channel – Best in Food episode in 2017.
Asked what the future holds, Daniell said, “We’ll savor the win for a moment, but we have to start focusing on WFC’s Final Table.” The Final Table is a $100,000 competition against the other WFC winners who emerged victorious from the main event in their respective categories: Barbecue, Bacon, Burger, Chef, Chicken, Chili, Dessert, Sandwich, Seafood and Steak. They come from all types of culinary backgrounds – home cooks to trained chefs to professional cook teams – as well as nine American states and one additional country, Germany. The nine champions will go head-to-head for a $100,000 prize.