I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I went years and years without ever eating a hamburger, that most American of American specialties. I’m not completely sure why, though it probably had something to do with being so completely infatuated with other flavors that eating a hamburger seemed like a step backward. Then my daughter came along, and somehow we bonded over hamburgers. Not just any hamburgers, but ones that were so well executed that we could argue about whether they were the perfect burger. It remained our private debate, never spilling into my life as a professional chef — until I was asked to participate in one of those culinary challenges that have become part of every chef’s life nowadays, this one a hamburger challenge. I couldn’t imagine not weaving in some classic Mexican touches, crowd-pleasing flavors I knew could win a competition. Flavors like the traditional Mexican queso fundido, melted cheese with chorizo sausage and roasted peppers. So, for those very special moments, I offer my mash-up of the rich and delicious, gooey-melty queso fundido and a classic American burger. Cultural exchange never tasted better, unless, of course, it includes a big spoonful of roasted tomatillo salsa.

Reprinted with permission from More Mexican Everyday