Jack Perkins of Maple & Motor is taking his talents to Chicago for a chance to win Steve Harvey's Golden Spatula. Take a minute for that sentence to sink in.
Last week, representatives of comedian Steve Harvey, and the daytime talk show that bears his name, called up Perkins. They wanted to know if he was interested in filming a live cook-off with a burger joint from Charlotte, North Carolina, called Bad Daddy's Burger Bar, for a chance to be crowned burger king — no, that's not a pun — and claim rightful ownership to Harvey's Golden Spatula.
Obviously Perkins said yes, which is why there was a film crew at M&M today filming B-roll — including some mugging for the camera from Perkins — for the competition later this week.
"We're going to go to Chicago, laugh with the audience, and come back to Maple & Motor. We're not going to cry like John Tesar," says owner Jack Perkins.
"I kissed my bicep," he says. "Of course, I do that just about every day."
General manager Kenton Thornton will accompany Perkins on the trip. They will prepare a 5-ounce version of the M&M bacon cheeseburger.
"We won't be able to do 190 Maple & Motor burgers," Perkins says. "But we're going to have fun with it and use it as an opportunity to have a good time."
The pair heads to Chicago on Wednesday for the filming on Thursday. They won't have their typical set-up; in fact, they're not sure what their set-up will be, exactly, and their staff will be culinary students.
"It's a pretty quick turnaround," Perkins says. "We're shipping up our meat and buns and veggies right now, and then we're going to get up there on Wednesday to cook for Steve and the audience."
Perkins says that he's never seen the show, but he that thinks that Harvey is a funny guy. As for the competition, they're not too worried and plan on keeping the whole thing relaxed.
"This is not in any way a real contest," Perkins says. "We don't care who thinks that we're the best burger in the world. We have a loyal clientele and want them to be happy. We're going to go to Chicago, laugh with the audience, and come back to Maple & Motor. We're not going to cry like John Tesar."
Still, Thornton thinks that the competitive juices will get flowing once the cook-off starts. "Jack and I are both competitive guys, so it'll be fun," he says. "Plus, he would never say this, but it's always nice to be recognized for doing good work."
Either way, Perkins appears confident that M&M will bring the Golden Spatula to Texas. "The other place has this huge menu, with real elaborate burgers with all kinds of toppings," he says. "I heard they're doing some burger topped with aioli sauce. That's mayonnaise."
When discussing the virtues of Texas beef versus Carolina's, Thornton says there's nothing like a Texas burger.
"Maybe if they were doing some kind of pulled pork slider, they might have a chance," he says.