Today our burger blogging friend Rev Ciancio of Burger Conquest interviews Camille Ford, host of Travel Channel's Food Wars and huge burger lover. You can watch Food Wars on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET. (And if you missed it before, check out Rev's previous interview with Food Wars contestant Grill 'Em All.)
Name: Camille Ford
Occupation: Foodie and host of Travel Channels Food Wars
How often do you eat burgers? In some form or another once a week.
Where did you eat your most recent one? My house .
Cheese: American, cheddar, other? Fresh buffalo mozzarella .
Ketchup or mustard? Mustard .
Sesame-seed or plain? Sesame for sure.
Grilled, griddled, or broiled? Griddle, broiled, grilled in that order.
And how would you like that done? Medium. Medium rare if its super high quality meat.
Would you do us the favor of describing your perfect burger? I worked briefly at Jackson Hole for the sole purpose to experiment with burger topping perfection. And although I have a few list toppers, this one with a cold beer never fails... Sesame bun grilled with garlic butter, chili, bacon, fried onions, avocado (guacamole if available), jalapenos, shredded cheddar.
The hamburger is a food item with which most Americans have strong childhood associations. Do you remember your earliest encounter with this delicious dish? I come from a huge family and in the summers it seemed there was always a steady stream of people, great music, and the smell of BBQs. My dad was a grill and seasoning master. I can remember him preaching from his BBQ pulpit to never over season quality meat and to never flip too soon or too often.
What's your favorite fast-food burger? When I was a kid it was Carl's Jr. Living in New York for so long I have not had a fast food burger in about 8 years.
What topping or condiment, in your opinion, should never grace a burger? No such thing...one has to keep an open mind. At one point people guffawed at the idea of putting minced meat on some bread with tomato paste.
What's the most unusual burger you've ever eaten? (Or most unusual burger experience you've had?) I have had peanut butter on my burger, and coconut curry sauce, both were surprisingly delicious.
What's the most overrated burger you've tried? Most underrated? In-N-Out is most overrated. Although I love the concept and am happy to think the quality is higher than other fast food joints, when I have eaten there I am usually not impressed. As for underrated, the Awful Awful burger in Reno. Its in the back of two casinos, The Nugget and The Little Nugget. It's the biggest little jackpot in Reno. I ate four in one day—oopsy.
How did you end up hosting the show? I am a gastronomer. And have been actively seeking out and sampling great food from all over the world for over a decade. I usually host a few dinner parties a month and part of the dinner game was always to have dishes compete. It was my own at home "food wars" if you will; when I heard about the casting for Food Wars it was a natural fit! Although sometimes they have me play down my food knowledge or have me hype up a simple ingredient, the simple fact of the matter is I F#@!*$# love eating and learning about food and am miserably competitive.
Which episode of Food Wars was the hardest to shoot and why? Buffalo, New York, was tough. There were a lot of outdoor shots and it was 17 degrees outside. Although they were good, wings are not on my 10 favorite foods list.
Which episode was the most fun? The burger truck episode was really fun; everyone was young and fearless and I was outdoors all day in the Cali sunshine. Plus people on the west coast are undeniably friendly and easygoing, which always makes for a great day.
What can we expect in the second season of Food Wars? If I have it my way it will be: awesome locations, more food facts, and serious competition.