Caribbean burger with jerk mayo, mango chutney wins first place in Detroit contest  

Chef Max Hardy won a $1,000 prize, a trophy he could display in one of his two successful Detroit restaurants — and bragging rights.

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Sunday was a delicious day of culinary competition in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market for the 2022 Detroit Burger Battle, and it ended with celebrity chef Maxcel Hardy winning with his Caribbean burger under mango chutney, peppery arugula and spicy jerk mayo.

The chef — who has been seen on various food network competition shows, including Beat Bobby Flay and Chopped — won in his hometown with a burger inspired by a taste of the Caribbean, according to The Detroit Free Press

Max Hardy, owner of Coop Caribbean Fusion and Jed’s Detroit, won the 2022 Detroit Burger Battle on Sunday with his Caribbean burger. (Photo: Susan Selasky/USA TODAY NETWORK)

Hardy, who once cooked for NBA star Amare Stoudamire, has long been inspired by his mother’s Bahamian roots. 

Yet while he has battled many greats, it was in a battle on his own stomping grounds against nearly a dozen other ambitious chefs that Hardy really unleashed his chops. His Caribbean burger featured a blend of beef short rib and brisket, he told The Detroit Free Press. Served on a toasted bun, it was also topped with velvety Havarti cheese.

“There’s a lot of love and a lot of flavor,” Hardy said. “It’s spicy but love … summer. So we had a lot going on.”

Hardy won a $1,000 prize and a trophy he could possibly display in one of his two successful restaurants, Coop Caribbean Fusion, a local favorite situated in the popular Detroit Shipping Company food hall, or Jed’s Detroit, which features cool pizza-and-wings flair. 

“It was truly an honor,” Hardy said of his victory. “Coming back off COVID, after not being able to do this for the past year, being outside and being around all the fun chefs and restaurateurs. It’s an honor to be able to do it. And to win. It speaks to all the work that we put in every day in the restaurant industry.”

Fans of fantastic food waited for hours under a blazing Detroit sun to taste the array of burgers during Sunday’s competition, which was presented by Dine, Drink, Detroit. It was the first time the contest had been back in front of audiences since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“We got positive feedback from people and are so excited to be back,” Scott Rutterbush, one of the DDD promoters, told The Freep.

Second place in the burger battle went to area eatery Frita Batidos, another hometown favorite, which has locations in both Detroit and Ann Arbor. It won Best Presentation with a slider-style burger topped with beef brisket and a mini sunny-side-up egg served with corn relish.

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