Flipping for Burgers

The old American standby is going upscale as more top chefs put gourmet versions on their menus

James Worrell for TIME

I've eaten more hamburgers than any other food, and I still don't get it. It's a hot ground-beef sandwich--and ground beef just isn't all that great. There isn't a meat loaf restaurant every two blocks. The world hasn't embraced fast-food meatball chains. Yet people crave hamburgers. And many of the nation's top chefs are devoting themselves to cooking them.

It became cool for famous chefs to make burgers in 2001, when Daniel Boulud, James Beard Outstanding Chef of the Year, opened his casual DB Bistro Moderne and sold a $27 hamburger: ground sirloin stuffed with braised short ribs, foie gras and...

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