B&I chef brings global flavors to action station.
When Molly Cunningham, executive chef for Flik International at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton in New York, wanted to satisfy customer demand for diverse cuisine, she looked to her Korean background and love of Asian cuisine and developed these beef bulgogi sliders. She spoke to FSD about the process of getting this unconventional burger just right.
“What I did with this dish was take an idea that could be condensed down into something affordable because usually you would use rib eye or sirloin with bulgogi. So I decided to create it in a burger because ground beef is less expensive. I decided to put a little spin on it with a Korean barbecue sauce glaze and then paired it with different types of salads like slaws, kimchi and pickled vegetables. We feature the dish in our action station.
The idea for the dish came about because the clientele here is really into global cuisines. At the action station, we always try to have something that provides a ‘wow.’ So I was trying to think of something that wouldn’t make my food cost go crazy, but would still bring the customers some flavors that they may not have had before. I am Korean and I’ve always been interested in cooking with Asian flavors. So I came up with these sliders as a way to deliver an Asian street food at the action station.
First, I made a slider the way I thought it should be and swapped out ingredients I didn’t think were working. I really didn’t change that much from my first version of the dish since the flavors of bulgogi are pretty set. I took the components of what bulgogi is and I also added some other items that are used in Asian cuisine to give a little more flavor since bulgogi is mostly marinated with sesame oil and ginger and garlic. Instead of having just one side salad we wanted to do several because in Asian cuisine they offer lots of little components. So we created five or six side salads.
I also created my own Korean barbecue sauce for the glaze. The barbecue sauce is ketchup based to give the familiar flavor of barbecue sauce. Then I used ginger, fish sauce, Korean chili paste, apple juice, soy sauce, a little beef stock and a brown sugar rice wine vinegar to give it that acidity.
We plate it as three two-ounce sliders. We glaze them with the barbecue sauce. Then on the side we’ll have perhaps a soba noodle salad, an apple and kimchi salad or, in the summer, we’ll do a peach and kimchi salad. Then there will be about six different dipping sauces to accompany the burger, such as a scallion soy sauce, a sesame dressing or a cilantro dressing.
The dish was really well received in the cafeteria. People thought it was a great idea taking something that was low cost and making it into something they might not have seen before. It’s definitely a different flavor than your normal cheeseburger.”