After a storming success with the now infamous Rib Nights, Ahmed Kage is all set to front his unique blend of pop-up prowess at his next event, The UK Burger Battle, launching on 14th December. Ahead of the big day, we caught up with Ahmed on all things patties, pickles and stranded kittens.
You stormed the foodie scene with the sell-out Rib Nights; but what is it that made you venture into burgers following that meaty success? Everyone likes burgers and over the past few years there has been a surge of places that offer a higher class of product than what most people are used to. Recently, I also undertook a consultancy role to turn around the food offering at a pub and make it into a good quality burger joint. I lived, breathed and bathed in burgers 18 hours a day for 2 months. So I decided that the perfect follow on from Rib Nights was Burger Battle.
What can guests expect at the event? Unlike Rib Nights, this event will be a lot more casual rather than a sit down meal at a set time; that’s why we've chosen Spotlight as a venue, as this suits it perfectly. Customers will be able to collect their burgers at any point within a set time period, with various forms of entertainment going on, and with some funk and old school hip hop as a soundtrack. We will then collect the votes and announce a winner. At which point we dance the night away with music from some well known house DJs from all across the UK.
There’s foodie pop-ups lacing the UK scene at the moment, what is it that makes UK Burger Battle stand out from a hungry crowd? We aim to give the customer a great experience – whether that be from the food that they eat, what they drink, or what they see or are listening to. At the end of the day its making sure everyone has a good time. My role as “Battle Boss” is to ensure customers (and indeed the burger teams taking part) are all happy!
OK, Burger Boss; how did you source the competitors for this December's round? We sent out invitations to many restaurants and street food vendors not only in Birmingham but across the UK. We are lucky to have The Beefy Boys on board as they are currently in Las Vegas competing in the World Food Championships. They also won Grillstock this year in the burger category! Flying Cows have been taking Birmingham by storm over the past year with some really good food. The owner Dan is an ex-chef and his family have their own farm with a pedigree herd of Dexter Beef – so expect big things!
What do you think it takes for competitors to win an event like UK Burger Battle? They need to inspire people and awaken their tastebuds by giving them a real experience with their food. Have the customers raving about it for days. Don’t try and over think things too much. Toppings should be a complement, so let the flavours of your beef do the talking. There’s a lot more to burgers than people realise or give the vendors credit for.
What would be your idea of the ultimate pile-high patty? Pickles? Sauce? Many people like to add an extra patty or have extra cheese and bacon. That’s all great, but It doesn’t always need to be pile high – sometimes the greatest burgers are the simplest, made with good quality ingredients and more importantly some really good beef!
If you were to see a kitten, or a burger stuck up a tree; which of the two would you save first? The kitten probably went up the tree to get the burger so it would probably scratch my eyes out if I went anywhere near them – you don’t mess with someone’s burger – even a kitten’s!
Tickets to the UK Burger Battle's launch is taking place on Sunday 14th December at Birmingham's Spotlight Bar. Tickets are available here. Stay up to date with the event by following them on Twitter.