The news that Buns Out is the best burger restaurant in South Africa and one of the best in the world, has left me a bit muddled.
Not that Buns Out, which is owned by Maps Maponyane, the popular TV personality and entrepreneur, serves horrible burgers. They are very delicious (that bun is amazing), but they are not the best burger joint in South Africa.
Not by a long shot.
It then made me think – what criteria are we using to judge establishments? Do we judge by the popularity of the establishment, owner and chef? Do we judge on how much of a thrilling sensation we got after taking the first bite? How do we actually make the decision on what is the best burger?
When I read the piece on Bloomberg Pursuits, I saw that they had asked chefs from around the world to share what their favourite burger joints were.
Which is all well and good, but what Bloomberg forgets that these particular lists are seen as credible and in a world filled with fake news, this doesn’t help when there is little said about what makes the burger worthy of being on the list.
Buns Out one of the worlds best burgers?
— Private Chef Scott (@ChefScott_) February 20, 2020
With asking the chefs for the best burger in their country, already that cuts out any proper analysis because they are going for personal favourites, that appeal to them and their palette. There wasn’t a proper criteria they use to determine what makes the burger a cut above the rest, which would have added a lot of credibility to the list.
With these being the choices of, and I quote: " …the culinary elite – chefs laden with Michelin stars and other accolades-" we needed them to qualify just what it is about their choices that makes them amazing burgers.
Food awards are very subjective. Having judged a couple of them, I know just how much personal taste plays a role in which establishment ends up being the winner.
However, a credible judging panel also helps to bring fairness into the process and that is when the truly deserving establishments get awarded their deserved prize.
While I am ecstatic that a local burger joint has been profiled on an international magazine, one that is read by some of the most influential people in the world, I just wish they hadn’t taken the lazy route and asked for personal choice.
I am also not blind to the fact that the chef, Lorna Maseko, who picked Buns Out as the best in the country, happens to be a close associate of the owner. Now that’s conflict of interest.
If you really want to get what is happening in a country’s food scene, rather have more people in the industry, deciding which establishment serves the best food.
For credibility’s sake.