Ashley Hutchinson has made a $10,000 burger.
Her original creation, the Elote Motive, is the winner of the Red Robin Golden Robin Burger Contest. Her prize: a $10,000 scholarship and the serving of her burger at the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One (SOBEWFF®).
Hutchinson, a master’s student in hospitality management, was surprised with the news at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management on Jan. 7 by Interim Dean Michael Cheng. More than 400 students sent in recipes.
“Honestly, I have 10,000 emotions going on. I’m like, ‘Yes, you did it!’ I tried so hard. I’m really excited and I’m really grateful for the opportunity,” Hutchinson said.
The burger is inspired by the flavors of Elote, also known as Mexican street corn. It is layered in cotija cheese, lime juice, cilantro and much more.
“We are so excited to have one of our hospitality students win this contest because it showcases our school’s talented students,” Cheng said. “Ashley’s creativity and perseverance has certainly paid off.”
Hutchinson, a master’s student in hospitality management, was serious about winning the contest. She conceived and cooked six original recipes, inviting her friends over to try them all. One burger paired prosciutto and arugula cheese, another starred fried shrimp and aioli sauce.
When she bit into the Elote Motive, she knew it was a winner.
“My favorite part of the burger,” Hutchinson said, “is actually the cilantro and the jalapeno, because you bite into it and you think it’s going to be overwhelming, but the cilantro is perfect. That’s why I was like, ‘This has to be it.’”
For Hutchinson, who is set to graduate this semester, the scholarship is confirmation that she is pursuing the right career.
“I’m going to just continue investing in myself. I felt like I kind of lost my way a little bit. Was food the right choice of getting into, or did I not do enough? I was kind of questioning my journey a little bit. But this kind of just put the nail in it. Like, ‘You’re good. You’re solid,’” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson and her Elote Motive can be seen in person at SOBEWFF®, a national five-day event that showcases the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. Her burger will be featured at the Heineken Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons® hosted by Rachael Ray on Friday, Feb. 21. She will also be volunteering at the Festival for the third year in a row.