In 2011, Seth Agranov started BestMemphisBurger.com to highlight lesser-known local burger joints. It quickly gained momentum and had a significant following. At the time, Seth was on a number of cooking teams for local competitions such as Memphis in May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Southern Hot Wing Festival.
“I loved being a part of these competitions, but I always felt like there were ways to improve them,” he says. The burger lover decided to combine the two and put a callout online to be on the ground floor of a new festival—Best Memphis Burger Fest.
Teddy Gorman jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the team. Seth and Teddy, along with several others, hosted the inaugural Best Memphis Burger Fest in 2012 to raise money for Memphis Paws, Inc., which supports local animal rescues and charities. They’ve raised more than $40,000 for the organization so far.
“I never really ate burgers before joining the Burger Fest team, so I decided I needed to become a subject matter expert,” says Teddy. They attempted to try every burger in town, but that started catching up with them.
“After seeing photos from the first Burger Fest, I knew I needed to get back in shape,” Seth says. To shed a few pounds, he completed in several sprint and Olympic triathlons and ran the St. Jude Half Marathon. Teddy, who was already into fitness, decided to come up with a plan to combat the extra calories.
“When I knew I would be meeting Seth to eat burgers, I would increase my cardio the day before or the day after,” he says. An avid traveler, Teddy often plans trips around trying various burgers, but he finds ways to get in exercise, whether that’s working out at the hotel gym or paying for a day pass, complemented by walking around the city instead of taking cabs.
After six years, they have a few strategies to maintain balance between their quest to find the perfect burger and not packing on pounds:
• Ditch the weekly cheat meals. After a longer period of clean eating, reward yourself with a weekend or full week of cheats. By the end, you’ll be ready to go back to eating clean.
• Take a healthier approach to the cheat meal. Eat a burger with leaner meat, rather than eating empty calories, like sweets. “I think you can get a great burger with 96% lean ground beef,” says Teddy. One of his favorite local burgers is the stuffed turkey burger at Mot & Ed’s.
• Count your Macros. Document and track your food intake. If you know how much protein, carbs, and fat you’re taking in, it makes it easy to adjust the rest of your meals to fit burgers into the day’s totals.
The Burger Fest team is gearing up for the 6th annual event October 7th at Tiger Lane. To incorporate fitness and a healthy lifestyle, there will be a pop-up barre class, “Barre, Bubbles, and Burgers” at 10 am.
“My New Year’s resolution this year was to wear another race singlet,” says Seth. “After Burger Fest is over, I’m going to get back out on the Greenline either by bike or foot.”
Best Memphis Burger Fest October 7, 10:30-6:00pm Benefits Memphis Paw, Inc. Tickets: $10-$50 Bestmemphisburgerfest.com
By Christin Yates