Sergio Sanz, executive chef of Pólvora (Juan Bravo, 23), does not like contests very much. However, last April he decided to present his latest culinary creation to one of the most anticipated events of the Salón Gourmets, a fair that celebrated its third anniversary in Madrid last month. His Soft Shell Crab Burger, or what is the same, a tempurized soft shell crab burger, with pretzel bread enriched in clarified butter, along with a touch of sweet soy, kimchi mayonnaise and sisho leaf, was chosen as the second best gourmet burger in Spain in the already famous Burger Combat. It was only a tenth behind the winner, El Baifo Street Food (Santa Cruz de La Palma, Santa Cruz de Tenerife), with its burger Benahoarita.

A resounding success to be the first time that the chef participated in an event of this nature, who also directs the kitchen R+D department of Grupo Vespok, to which Pólvora belongs. "I like the different, the mixture of flavors and experiment. We decided to go because it was my last creation for the restaurant and we believed that the most disruptive thing to go to a hamburger contest was to present with one that was not meat, "says Sergio.

Since it has been recognized as the second best gourmet burger in Spain (the first in the Peninsula and Madrid), the influx of people who have gone to the restaurant to try it has been enormous. According to Sergio, in the last week, about 100 have been served. "There was a day that they even sold out, because we don't have a very extensive production of hamburgers." Pólvora, which stands out for its creative cuisine of fusion of different cultures, has many other gastronomic offers and "you can not give all the use of the kitchen to hamburgers," says the chef.

In fact, the dish was not created specifically for the contest, but had already been on the Pólvora menu for a while: "I wanted to create a different offer for people who do not eat meat, and that's where the concept came from." Also, it is a version of another that Sergio already served in his own restaurant that he had some time ago. "I wanted to rescue a soft-shell crab bao that I made at the time and transform it into a hamburger by adding a little different flavors, as well as playing with textures." Hence the crunchiness of the tempura, the morbidity of the bread and the combination of sweet, spicy sauces... "I like to experiment and do things that people aren't used to. The Soft Shell Crab Burger is a burger that goes out of the ordinary. It's created by and for people who like to try and take risks."

Sergio Sanz, executive chef of Pólvora

Limited production

The goal, therefore, is to keep it on the menu so that everyone can taste it, but with a limited number per service. In this way, it may be the case that some diners who have booked to try the award-winning creation are left without it, because they do not have delivery service either. "We will try not to make it happen, but it can happen" (price: 16 euros, served with potatoes).

In the Burger Combat, the creativity of the chefs when preparing their recipe is measured and the most ingenious combinations of flavors, presentation, harmony and innovation in the ingredients used are valued. The recipe must contain, in addition to the bread of the Lantmännen Unibake group, sauce, meat and other ingredients of your choice.

"I don't think I'll ever run for a contest again, it's not my thing, but the fact that we have stayed a tenth of the first place, excites us a lot. In a contest of more than 400 candidates, to have reached this position with a powerful and risky burger is incredible," explains Sergio Sanz.

Belonging to the Vespok Group, also owner of the adjoining Salitre tavern and the Italian Casa Vito, among others, Pólvora presents, by the hand of its two executive chefs Sergio Sanz and Alfredo González, a series of original recipes that start from the Mediterranean tradition and are mixed with techniques and ingredients from the world, mainly Latin America, with winks to Creole cuisine. and Asia. Book here.

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