In a thrilling announcement for food enthusiasts in Andover, the enigmatic and humour-laden Burgers He Wrote is all set to tantalize your taste buds with his insightful yet comical food reviews. Starting from October 13th, he will grace this website with his flavourful narratives, offering a unique blend of culinary exploration and comedic musings.
In a candid interview, Burgers He Wrote provided a glimpse into his world of food, burgers, and mental health, showcasing a delightful combination of flavours, emotions, and laughter.
What’s the most unique or outlandish burger you’ve ever tried in your food adventures? Share the details and your thoughts?
Funnily enough, I don’t normally tend to choose outlandish burgers to review, however, they do get offered to me, as businesses often create something unique as a special, and for a limited time only, so this acts as a great way to raising awareness for others to try it.
I personally like to keep things simple in the search for the best burger, but it does provide good material for readers, raising moot points for them to consider, such as using peanut butter in a burger, Yay or Nay?!
In terms of what I have reviewed, I’d say it was a Double Doughnut Bacon Cheeseburger, which had Sugar Glazed Doughnuts to contain the fillings, instead of the bun, and it absolutely banged, like your neighbour’s kid with his new drumkit.
How do you infuse humour into your burger reviews and videos? How does this help your audience in your reviews?
You can find humour in pretty much anything, and food / hospitality is no exception. The main purpose is for me is to review food, however, it’s also an opportunity to blog my feelings, thoughts, and observations on current events, as well as having some regular features within the reviews, to add a little extra humour.
I create a format for the reader, so there’s a beginning, a middle and an end, which is hopefully easy enough to digest, excuse the ‘bun’!
I’ll score the food and add descriptions / price from their menu, then set out an introduction, my thoughts about the food, venue, and experience, then I sandwich in those regular features I mentioned, ending with a unique summary.
In terms of the features, a popular one is, ‘Freddie’s Funny Stories’. This is a paragraph about something amusing that my son has said or done, and as any parent knows, children can provide some serious entertainment, hence why it’s probably relatable. It’s basically child exploitation for laughs. Here’s an excerpt from one of my reviews:
“We’d been waiting for a while, so my partner went to the bar to ask where our drinks were, at which point, the server apologised, but advised they were being made, and that it was due to there being an issue with the printer. Overhearing this, Freddie says, “Do they print water?”.
In the summary, I describe the burger as if it was a relationship, incorporating some aspects of the review itself, to tell a love story between this Man and his Food, often ending up in heartbreak or a wild encounter. Here’s another excerpt below:
“This Burger was tough. She offered me out on a first date, to which I gladly agreed, but then she started throwing plates at me for some reason. I couldn’t help but feel catfished when she said she was into martial arts and would be wearing nice pants, turns out she was a Sumo Wrestler”.
How have burgers evolved over the years in the local food scene? Are there any particular trends or innovations that have caught your eye?
Where do we start! My earliest memory of burgers are probably the Birdseye frozen numbers that my mum would oven cook, and slap between a Sesame Seed bun, which, don’t get me wrong, still firmly hold a place in my heart, but as burgers are one of the biggest selling fast-food items worldwide, it would only be natural for them to evolve, and come a long way from there.
Food in general has become a mixture of science and art, and burgers are a part of that too, so you have a mixture of the cookery itself, or a highly ‘instagrammable’ picture, as the evolution shows through visuals and product. Not sure if that’s a real word.
A lot of trends will come from the states, with the ‘Smash’ burger probably being the biggest trend in recent years that has found itself on UK menus. I’ve also noticed that more places are inverting their buns to create more of a ‘Grilled Cheese’, than a burger, which has some logic to it, but probably a bit pointless if you ask me.
I’ll leave you with this though, the restaurant ‘Nusr-Et’, owned by Salt Bae, sells a 24 carat Gold Leaf burger which will set you back a cool £1450, make of that what you will.
Give your readers a glimpse into the process of creating one of your burger reviews. What goes into preparing for a review, from choosing the burger joint to filming and editing?
So I get a LOT of recommendations, but also follow several food businesses and other bloggers, which results in having an original recipe bucket list, of places for me to tick off,
I don’t visit venues in any particular order, just when I have the time, or the opportunity. However, when I get invited to do a review, I’ll prioritise this, arrange a time / day to visit, then create a time frame to work around.
I tend to do a bit of research on the business / venue beforehand, and certain aspects of the article will pop in my head, so I’ll start a note on my phone to record any information relating to the review.
I’ve recently added more visuals alongside the written piece, so followers can gain more of an experience. I film the venue, staff, food, and I’m also starting to film more reactions to give a personal experience, this is still work in progress.
I can often spend quite a few hours editing stories, posts, reels, and the review itself, not to mention the travel and work involved at the time, not just eating haha. This is all part of a showcase that I like to do for a business.
You’re a strong advocate for mental health awareness. Can you tell us about your journey and how it intersects with your passion for food blogging?
I’d consider myself to be a strong advocate yes. Words have a way of empowering readers, so by being brutally honest about my own mental health, often within these reviews and posts, it can reassure people that they’re not alone, and hopefully, highlight the ability to find your voice, and act as a reminder to keep going when things are difficult.
I suffer from severe bouts of depression and anxiety, which went undiagnosed for a long time, I suppose due to being of an age where we were told to ‘Man up’, but I’ve had a lot of underlying issues from past trauma that lead to addictive behaviour, substance abuse and ultimately, where I am today, in trying to manage this daily.
I’ve found that either songwriting, or creative writing for these reviews are my own form of therapy, and that it what empowers me specifically, to have a voice and explain how I feel.
Could you share more about the charity you support, Boys Get Sad Too? How did you get involved, and how do they make a difference in the community?
Just to clarify on this, my involvement is only that of supporting the ‘Boys Get Sad Too’ brand, which donates 10% of all their profits to CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably), and this is the Charity itself.
Boys Get Sad Too is not just a clothing brand though, it’s a community of like-minded people who want to see a positive change in the world, and they actively work to try and raise awareness for the struggles that men specifically face. I saw adverts for their t-shirts, and one had a number on for a Pizzeria, but when you call, you get through to support services for Mental Health, which is what drew me to the brand, and the cause they support.
I’ll look to be involved in charity work for Mental Health in the future, and if any readers wish to talk to me about this, then they can contact me.
What’s your favourite non-traditional beverage or side dish to pair with a burger? Any surprising combinations that have pleasantly surprised you?
I used to shock people when I’d tell them I don’t really like fries. I kind of felt they took up valuable space when they’re just a potato, which is how I feel like sometimes. When there’s other, more interesting sides you can get, like Buffalo Wings for example, they just didn’t really do it for me.
The older I get though, the more relaxed I am about fries being the sidekick to a Burger, and what it probably needs, and deserves.
When you go to some places, there are go to sides, like at Burger King for example, you need to get the Chilli Cheese Bites, and it’s not even debatable.
I think my favourite side recently, was a Canadian Poutine I had, with Smoked Montreal Meat, which was from the Funky Pickle Company who are based in Farnham area. Now they do some great sides!
I prefer to wash my meal down with something I haven’t tried before, so am always on the lookout for new options, but something in which you can host a film festival….Cannes.
Share some lesser-known local places that deserve more attention. What makes them stand out in your eyes?
So Andover itself isn’t exactly a hotbed of what you would call, ‘proper’ burger joints, but in terms of lesser known local places, there’s a food van I love, called ‘Original Fry-Up Material’, who not only have a fantastic name, but they serve up some of the best burgers I’ve tried locally, and you can find them popping up in Andover, and surrounding areas in Hampshire.
Whilst their menu is simple, and humble in its offering, it’s all about the flavour, and when looking for a classic bacon cheeseburger, OFM absolutely deliver. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for their van!
There are also a lot of restaurants / pubs serving up great burgers within Andover and surrounding villages, who all deserve a mention, but are perhaps more established within their four walls, as opposed to OFM.
Are there any unwritten rules or etiquette tips when it comes to enjoying a burger? Any common mistakes people should avoid?
NEVER USE A KNIFE AND FORK!!!
If you could create your own ultimate burger, what ingredients would it include, and what would you name it?
Let’s think outside the burger box for this one, because I’ve waffled on about burgers in the traditional sense, and I don’t want to give too much away, just in case I decide to sell my own burgers in the future.
The ultimate burger would have to contain family and friends as the meat / vegetarian option, music and sports as the toppings, new trainers as the sauce, and the positivity gained from trying to be a good human as the bun. I’d probably call it the ‘Metaphwoarrr’.
How does enjoying a good burger tie into your personal mental health routine? Any advice for readers on balancing indulgence with health?
So this is a tricky one, as I’m not the slimmest of chaps, and this could come across as hippo-critical, but being at the tender age of 41 (pausing to check with my partner as I forget how old I am), I perhaps can’t shift the weight that I used to, and certainly not as quickly.
However, my advice is that if you indulge in any foods like this, that you maintain a good level of exercise daily. If you burn as many calories as your intake, then you can maintain a fair level of guilt free cuisine.
I also would not advise to solely indulge in these types of foods, and to have a nutritionally balanced diet, with fatty foods acting as more of a treat.
In terms of my mental health, I would appreciate that indulgent food can have an impact on this, where people often turn to comfort food, instead of healthier options, however, life is a balance, and I’d like to think my passion for cooking itself has a positive impact on my mental health, and with the different variety of food types, that it’s not all bad ay.
Could you recommend a restaurant/eatery/takeaway for specific occasions, like a date night, family outing, or a solo treat day?
For takeaways, I do like a Chicken Shawarma from the Walworth Kebab Van, or indeed a Burger from Stax ‘N’ Snax. You can’t knock a Mixed Grill on a Cheesy Garlic Naan from the New Bengal, and you’ve got a good artisan Pizza offering from Nidge.
For date days, there’s the Mediterranean vibes of Envy, and Cocktail fuelled bottomless brunches at the Duck & Tipple, but again, there are so many places I could list for every category, such as all the wonderful pubs we have on the outskirts of Andover, who are lovely to visit, for food, drinks and atmosphere on a nice day out.
Lastly, I try not to eat solo, to save judgment, that’s why I always bring at least one of the family along for reviews.
Do you take suggestions from your audience on which burger places to review? Share a memorable fan-recommended experience.
As I previously mentioned, I get a LOT of recommendations, and I’ll encourage it, often I ask people for their input as this for the people, by the people, and for the many, and not the few.
Someone once recommended a place in Newbury, where the food was awful, the hygiene was questionable, our car got stuck in a ditch on the way home, and my son needed a Brad ‘Pitt’ in the middle of nowhere, so pretty memorable that one.
Have you explored burgers from other regions or countries? Any international burger experiences that stand out?
I’ve been to the Mecca before, which is to say, New York, where I tried one of the best burger places at the time, ‘The Black Tap’, and I’ve got to say, it was up there with the best I’ve ever had. I don’t think they’re still considered one of the best places, with quality moving on slightly, but I’ll always remember that experience, and the trip in general, as one of the best times of my life, and not just because I left the kids at home.
What’s up next, and is there anything else you’d like to say to Love Andover followers?
Even more of these, just opportunities really, no, I have a lot going on to be honest. I’ve just finished judging at the Big Eat Festival, which was for the Hampshire Street Food Awards, with the ceremony coming up in November. I have a lot of reviews I’ve been invited to do, and that will take up a lot of my weekends, over the coming months. Also, there may be a great opportunity with Love Andover!
If any businesses would like to contact me regarding a potential review, be it for a Burger, Pizza, Roast Dinner, or Fine Dining Experience, I’m well versed in all cuisine, so please get in touch to see what I can do for your business. Several local and nationwide businesses have already taken advantage of my services, and one of the largest fast-food brands in the USA, ‘Wendy’s’, invited me to review food at one of their UK branches.
Regarding these reviews, the world is a serious place, and my writing comes from a light-hearted take on life, and whilst I remember to always be kind, I also try to maintain my integrity and be honest.
I don’t take myself too seriously, so I hope anyone that reads my reviews, understands where I’m coming from. It’s a bit of a fun approach towards food culture. If you hadn’t noticed already, I’m a bit of a self-deprecator, so try not to get too offended if anything unintentionally touches a nerve.
“Just because you’re offended, it doesn’t mean you’re right?” – Ricky Gervais.
Burgers He Wrote