Local Kid's Burger Brings Heat to Competition

12-year-old's recipe is national finalist

By Matt Bartosik
|  Thursday, Dec 3, 2009  |  Updated 12:54 PM CDT
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Local Kid's Burger Brings Heat to Competition

Red Robin

Your next burger might have been made by a 12-year-old.

At 12 years old, most of us didn't have an appreciation for anything beyond pizza or chicken nuggets. But you could soon sit down at a restaurant and order a delicious entrée that was designed by a seventh-grader.

Mike Smyth of New Lenox greatly enjoys spicy foods, a trait he picked up from his father. It comes as no surprise then that when he entered Red Robin's fourth annual National Kids' Cook-Off, he decided to include some kick.

"I went on the computer and was surprised that no one's ever put poppers on a burger before," the 12-year-old told the Southtown Star.

Smyth's burger—a one-third-pound beef patty with cream cheese, sliced jalapenos, and crispy bacon—was so good, it won local contests and is on its way to the national competition. Smyth's recipe is one of 10 national finalists  culled from 11,000 entries.

On Thursday, December 3, the 10 finalists will make their burgers for a panel of judges in Denver, Colorado, including Robin Miller, host of the Food Network's "Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller." The winner's burger will be sold in Red Robin restaurants in summer 2010. The winner will also receive a family vacation to Universal Orlando Resort.

You can help choose a winner also. The public can vote online until Thursday, and the kid with the most online votes will be named "Fan Favorite" and receive a $100 gift card to Toys R Us.

For Smyth though, it's not all about the prizes.

"If I win, it means the rest of America loves my burger as much as I do," he said. "That would be awesome."

To vote for Mike's burger, visit www.redrobin.com/thefinalists/.

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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