Food & Wine Magazine: June Cover Recipe

Umami Burgers with Port & Stilton

Rating: 4 out of 5 (simplified intensity)

Initial Thoughts: I want that bun. Why can’t I ever find brioche buns that look that good?! Seriously want that bun.

The Test: Right off the bat we are told to refrain from piling the burger sky high with toppings and a slew of condiments, which is typically how I build my burgers. I’ve spent years building a reputation for myself as the person with the most out of control burger (“is there any meat in that burger or is it all just bun and goodies?!”) But one look at this month’s cover and I was easily convinced to jump on the less is more train. It is a gorgeous photo with perfectly style food that makes you want to just lick the sauce dribbling down the sides before taking a bite into what you know will be the world’s freshest bun, chasing it all down with that icy cold ale in the background. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been paying closer attention to food pics, but tell me that burst of colour in the napkin that is the same tone as the port reduction doesn’t make the photo perfect?! I dare you to look at this cover and not want to make this burger. Immediately.

See? Told ya.

This recipe was developed by LA based restaurant creator Adam Fleischman, and incorporates a sprinkle of umami dust. Umami (translated best as “savoury”) is considered the fifth primary taste behind sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It blends well with other flavours and is believed to expand your overall flavour experience. It is also the signature condiment for Fleischman’s famous burger chain; Umami Burger.

The Results: This recipe’s version of the intense flavour booster that is “umami”, includes a savory mix of ground kombu (dried seaweed), bonito flakes (made from smoked bonito or tuna), and dried shitake mushrooms. It is ground into a powder and sprinkled on top of a plain beef patty (mix of brisket, skirt steak and sirloin), before being topped with reduced port and stilton. It is a simple burger to make, and luckily I had left over kombu and bonito flakes from the previous month’s cover.

The recipe may be simple to prepare but the flavours intensified in your mouth are as far from simple as you can get. Complex. Meaty. Subtle. That is the best way to describe what the umami dust brings out in the burger, and combined with the sweet and syrupy port and creamy tang of the cheese it was fantastic.

So the question I know everyone is dying to know: have I been converted? Will my future burgers days be filled with simplicity?


Old habits die hard.

NOTE: umami dust will soon be available for purchase online at

Umami Burgers with Port & Stilton

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to

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