KirbyG’s Diner co-owner Neil Daniell snagged the World Burger Champion title recently in Orange Beach, Alabama.
According to a news release, his dish, Chunky Avocado Cheeseburger with Candied Bacon, earned him $10,000 and a spot at the World Food Championships’ Final Table challenge.
Daniell said competing in events has had an impact on his restaurant business and team.
“Food sport inspires and gives the people in the restaurant industry something to shoot for,” he said in a statement. “It encourages us to constantly be creating new recipes and perfecting long-standing favorites. It also serves as a great way to train staff.”
Daniell attributed his competition success in the five-day, fast-paced cooking tournament to his dedicated staff and team.
“I’ve been competing with my team, Lindsey and Justin, four out of five years at WFC,” he said. “This win wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
The release stated that the veteran competitor also attributes his team’s accomplishments at the Ultimate Food Fight to developing a great strategy and participating in many hours of practice.
Daniell said his team rehearsed more than 100 practice runs.
“Our first year at WFC, we had no clue what we were doing. We knew we could make great hamburgers, but we didn’t truly understand how to execute like we needed to,” he said. “I say that’s the biggest difference between now and then.”
Despite having a solid plan in place, Daniell said he was still not expecting to take home the World Burger Champion title and $10,000 grand prize.
“When my name was called, I was shocked. Before the awards, my teammates and I had reviewed the (WFC Facebook) live stream and discussed how we thought we stacked up against the other top 10 competitors,” he said. “I knew we had to make up about seven points to win it all. Realistically, I thought we might have a chance to make the top five, at best.”
Daniell will prepare to go head-to-head with the other nine category winners at the championship’s Final Table challenge later this year.
In the finale showdown, competitors will be faced with a destination challenge that will require them to replicate dishes from the host city’s heritage.
“I’m not nervous yet, because I’ve already accomplished so much. I know I’m going up against some great people,” Daniell said. “As long as we execute our recipe well, I will be happy no matter the outcome.”
Daniell and his wife Erica founded the 1950s-inspired diner in 2008.
As the diner is located in the metro Atlanta area in McDonough, its unique menu creations have been deemed Atlanta’s Best Burger place, not once but twice, according to the release.
In addition, a few employees, also known as the “Pit Crew,” have been seen on “Atlanta Eats” and Travel Channel’s 2018 “Best in Food” series.
The diner is at 45 Macon St., near the McDonough Square.