[Chef Talk]

Talking burgers and more with rising star chef Christina Wilson

Hell’s Kitchen winner Christina Wilson moved from Gordon Ramsay Steak to BurGR last year.
Photo: L.E. Baskow

Christina Wilson was an up-and-coming chef when she showed up on Season 10 of Hell’s Kitchen. She won, kicking her career into overdrive and landing her in Las Vegas in mentor Gordon Ramsay’s new steakhouse. After a year and a half there as chef de cuisine, Wilson shifted into the role of executive chef last year at Ramsay’s BurGR at Planet Hollywood.

How have you handled the transition from Steak to BurGR? It was a little tough at first. On the East Coast at independent restaurants, the higher you get, the closer you are to the food. Here, the higher you get, the farther away you are from the food. But BurGR has the same standards as Steak, it’s just a different product, and the energy level of the room here matches my personality better. We’re orchestrating 1,400 covers a day here. The Strip is so competitive, and Vegas is probably unlike any other place on the planet with so many decorated chefs. I think there were 60 openings on the Strip in the past year. But we are still doing some of the highest numbers.

Has working at BurGR changed the way you think about burgers? It is really hard for me to order a burger now when I go out to eat. I had my go-to spots in Philly, then I came out here and we don’t have In-N-Out on the East Coast, so of course you gorge yourself on that. But even when I do try a different burger, I find myself less impressed now. We just have so many great options on the menu here.

What’s your favorite on the BurGR menu? Probably the Farm Burger. Bacon in general, you know, always a crowd pleaser. But this has duck bacon, which is so flavorful but not as fatty. There’s a good amount of fat already in the burger mix, so you’re covered.

How often do people recognize you from Hell’s Kitchen? Like a dozen times today. It’s never too much. I’m incredibly fortunate to be under Gordon’s umbrella and kind of riding off the success of the show. It’s only tough when I can’t walk away from the job to talk to people or step out for a picture. But it’s still surprising to me ... I never considered people would be recognizing me that way.

Tags: Dining, Food
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