New Zealand born acclaimed chef turned burger man Warren Turnbull has been an integral part of the Sydney dining scene since 1998. After training at the Auckland Chef Training School and honing his knowledge in London, Warren worked alongside Liam Tomlin for six years at what was one of Sydney’s most respected kitchens, Banc restaurant, moving through the ranks to become head chef until Banc’s doors closed.
Turnbull went on to open Restaurant Assiette in 2005, quickly earning two chef hats and ranking in th Australian Gourmet Traveller Top 100 Australian Restaurants. In 2010, Turnbull opened District Dining which earned another chef’s hat within a year of opening.
To coincide with the ever-changing Sydney food scene, Turnbull closed both Assiette and District Dining to open his next venture, Mexico Food and Liquor which now has five sites.
Chur Burger was established in 2013 with three venues in Sydney; Surry Hills, Paddington and the recently opened Manly, with Chur restaurants on the way for Brisbane, Cronulla and Parramatta.
Here are Warren’s top ten tips for making the perfect burger:
- Keep it simple – no one likes a burger which has so many fillings that everything oozes everywhere when you take a bite. Pick combinations like slaw, pickled veg or avocado to match your meat and make sure that your burger ends up in your mouth rather than all over your plate.
- Grind your own mince – it’s a great way to control fat content and know exactly what’s in your mince. Not many people realise how easy it is! If you don’t have a meat grinder, you can whip up some ground beef in your food processor. You can use meats like beef, lamb, chicken and turkey, whichever takes your fancy. For best results, I like a coarse grind rather than a fine grind.
- Cook meat medium rare – to me, a perfect patty is juicy with a pinky-red looking centre. Cooked longer and you’re looking at a dried up piece of meat with no juice – one of the cardinal sins of burger-making!
- Know when to season – to ensure you have a juicy patty, season your meat after it’s cooked rather than at the mince stage.
- Cook meat on a flame – by simply cooking meat on a flame, you are adding loads of extra flavour to the meat.
- Pack lots of punch in your sauces – you can’t have a good burger without good sauce. I use ZOOSH dressings at home on my burgers. They’re no-fuss and the peri peri mayo packs a punch. Also, try the ZOOSH garlic aioli mayo with some fresh lime zest and juice and you’ll have a cracking sauce in no time at all.
- Use the freshest and best quality ingredients – I’m a stickler for using the best quality ingredients. I like to source everything locally and make sure that only the best, fresh ingredients touch the plate.
- Perfect buns – buns are extremely important. They must be soft but able to hold all of the ingredients together and should be as tasty as the ingredients you put inside.
- Be experimental – but work with flavour combinations that work. No chocolate and beef burgers here; it’s all about balancing salt, spice, citrus, creaminess and that touch of sweetness at the end.
- Don’t toast your buns too much – buns that are too toasted will become dry, may shrink and can become hard and crumbly. Another cardinal burger sin is having a bun so toasted that it scrapes the top of your mouth! Go light; a light toasting is ideal, both on the inside and out.