THE CHEF- Tom McKern, Zombie Burger

By Eleni Upah

Q. How long have you been cooking?

Tom McKern, 29, has been cooking at Zombie Burger since it opened in 2011.

Tom McKern, 29, has been cooking at Zombie Burger since it opened in 2011.

A. I’ve been cooking since I was 18. Right out of high school, I knew that I wanted to go to culinary school, so I picked up a job right away.

Q. What is your favorite food?

A. Favorite food…burgers. It’s hard to run a burger place and have that not be your favorite.

Q. How do you come up with such unique combinations and recipes?

A. Lack of sleep, basically. We just walked into it without any perceived ideas with what can’t happen — what can or can’t go on a burger — and then we just started playing around with that and trying to come up with the best possible.

Q. What is your favorite burger?

A. I really like the Zahm Bi, it’s a Vietnamese-style burger that’s based off of zombies, so I add Swiss and Vietnamese barbecue sauce and shaved carrots and cucumbers and cilantro on it. It’s a little bit fresher than other fried ones too, so that’s nice. My favorite burger on the menu is actually the Undead Guy BBQ Burger, which has pulled bacon, and more bacon, and the Rogue Dead Guy Ale Barbecue Sauce and a couple other things.

Q. Do you have any cooking tips for customers?

A. When you’re cooking burgers, getting a good crust on it is really important. Creating a caramelization of the meat on the outside, it just brings out more flavor.

Q. What have been some of your most fun to create?

A. One of my favorites was — favorite and stressful one — The Walking Ched. Just trying to figure out how to (make) this macaroni and cheese actually solidify enough that we can bread it, turn around and fry it and then still have it be gooey once you cut into it. RELISH

Categories: The Chef

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