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Montana burger chef qualifies for World Food Championships

Posted at 3:18 PM, Oct 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-27 10:45:52-04

BILLINGS — A Billings chef with a new restaurant is making a big name for himself, qualifying for the World Food Championships in Texas with his award-winning burger.

What sets Copper Onion Bistro chef Kenny Rakstad apart from the competition is his attention to detail in the kitchen, making homemade ingredients daily.

Billings chef Kenny Rakstad

He took home the trophy this July at the Big Sky Burger Bonanza in Billings, competing against 15 Montana chefs with his award-winning fusion burger.

“These are our candied jalapenos, so we slice these really thin and we cook them for about 40 minutes in sugar and water until we get kind of a nice syrupy glaze on there,” says Rakstad. “And that’s our fusion burger.”

A Magic City Creation that qualified him for the World Food Championships in Dallas this November. He’s one of only 22 talented burger chefs to get the invite.

“It's a pretty big deal. It's a worldwide competition. There’s teams coming from Australia, South Korea, France,” says Rakstad.

There’s 12 categories from bacon to burgers with big-name judges taking bites of the best food on the planet.

“I think it's going to be amazing to be able to go there and see what all these other chefs are doing,” says Rakstad.

In round one, burger chefs are directed to make a dish representing a geographical region.

“Because we are from Montana, I'm going to do what’s called the mountain man burger. It's going to be a North American burger,” says Rakstad. “It's going to have a blend of bison, wild boar, wagyu beef, elk and venison in the burger blend, and then we are going to utilize huckleberries since we’re in that region. We’re also going to use some bone marrow and we’re also going to utilize quail eggs on the burger.”

Copper Onion burger
Copper Onion burger

With special antler plating, he expects his presentation to be wildly popular, and if he advances, he’ll eventually end up at the final table where there’s $100,000 at stake.

“It's going to be fun, its going to be intense. You know we have an hour and a half to create this burger. It seems like a lot of time but time goes really fast when you are cooking."

Especially when you’re baking an onion bun from scratch.

Rakstad heads to Dallas for the World Food Competition November 9-12.

The Burger Dive and Stacked: A Montana Grill have both competed at the World Food Championships in the past, with The Burger Dive taking home a few trophies.

Copper Onion Bistro is located at 115 Shiloh Road #6 in Billings.