The Underdog Set to Take on the Boss in the Pepperstack’s Ultimate Burger Challenge Finale

By Alan Sheehan


The final of the Ultimate Burger Challenge (UBC) will be contested at the Pepperstack restaurant, Aghada this Monday, 10 July between Martin Budden and Colm O’Sullivan.
The semi-finals of the UBC played out this past Monday, 3 July with Colm O’Sullivan again impressing with a score of 211 to see off Mark Lonergan and Pepperstack proprietor Martin Budden victorious against John Shanahan with a score of 119.
“The excitement on Monday night was mad,” said Imelda Budden, who runs the Pepperstack with her husband Martin. “It was unbelievable. The youngest chef, Colm, got the highest marks of the four guys on the night.”
Martin, the proprietor of the Pepperstack and an experienced chef, will now meet Colm, nicknamed the Underdog, in the final this Monday
“It’s mad altogether when a guy like Martin who has been cooking nearly 30 years with a wealth of experience,” said Mrs Budden, “will be up against a guy who has only been cheffing one year. But then on Monday, the judges awarded Colm 211 points and Martin 199 in their respective semi-finals; he beat him by 12 points. I am thrilled for Colm. He’s a young dude only starting his career and he is doing so well. Just don’t tell my husband I said that.”
The UBC was contested between six of the Pepperstack’s chefs including business owner Martin Budden, sous-chefs John Shanahan and Mark Lonergan, and commis chefs Colm O’Sullivan, Patrick McNamara and David Heffernan.
“Martin came up with the idea one day,” said Mrs Budden. “Chefs are competitive in their own way and it offers great excitement. The guys are all big Conor McGregor fans, hence their calling the competition the UBC, like the UFC. They work so hard every day that it is great to see them get so enthusiastic and it’s honestly great for team-building too.”
For each of the last six weeks the names of two chefs have been drawn from a hat. Those two chefs have competed to see who can make the better burger within 25 minutes and only with the ingredients found in the Pepperstack’s kitchen. Without knowing who cooked which burger, judges will critique and assign each burger a point rating based on attributes including presentation, difficulty to eat, texture, taste, how easily the ingredients are to identify and whether the judge would order it in a restaurant.
“Once the 25 minutes are up and we bring the burgers to the judges,” said Ms Budden, “the chefs are kept in the kitchen, a little nervous, silent and anxious. We tally the judges’ scores, bring them out of the kitchen and announce the winner.”
The UBC garnered quite a following in the six weeks since it began and while the excitement reached new peaks this past Monday, the final this coming Monday looks to give the competition a fitting send-off.
“It is going to be great fun altogether,” said Mrs Budden. “We have Neil Prendeville coming down as a judge and I’m currently working on the other three judges. We will also have a DJ for the final, providing music and some commentary. Once services stops at 8.30pm, the guys will clear up the kitchen and get ready to start the final cook-off for 9pm.”