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Recent scientific studies of labelling burgers to be bad for health and subsequent extensive media coverage do not seem to have made a dent in the consumption pattern of most North American burger lovers. It is the fat content of hamburgers that really matters, and you can formulate the blend to be lean or fatty. However, a lean hamburger tastes less succulent than one that contains 25 – 30 percent fat.

Now, moneyed people are willing to pay for up-scale hamburgers. In new Orleans at Michael’s you can get a hamburger for $ 145.- but it comes with a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne.

Welcome, to the brave new culinary world of “haute” fast food!

Forget gourmet peasant fare, or French Provencal and other ways in which food enthusiasts manage to complicate simple dining pleasures. “Haute” fast food like strip loin steak hamburger is a restaurant trend that gives diners the simple, comforting meals they want, with a twist.

In Toronto’s Bymark restaurant located in the high finance district downtown, you can buy a hamburger for $ 33.p (2003), but it comes with melted Brie de Maux from France, grilled porcini mushrooms a nd shavings of Perigord truffle.

In Manhattan Daniel Boulud, a hamburger with a slice of goose liver costs $ 28.- and if you feel like it you can order it with truffle shavings for $ 50.-

Back in Toronto Betty’s Burger at Betty’s Pub on King Street east costs $ 67.95 but it comes with a bottle of Pol Roger champagne. Apparently, people are happy. One patron bought three in three consecutive days.

The point is to get free publicity. Where else could you get so much publicity for nothing?

Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu

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