No, this isn’t Spike Mendelsohn, this is the Big Boy that I grew up with, the place where the best burgers could be found in those days. I loved Big Boy hamburgers! Since then, about the only places you could find hamburgers were at chain restaurants, and they were hardly good enough to visit more than once or twice.

Recently, I’ve heard of folks making “really good hamburgers”, the ones with chopped onions and herbs mixed into them before they’re grilled, but I never thought of them as “gourmet”. Then, along came Spike Mendelshon, the “Burger Guru”, who is setting the culinary world on its heels. As a finalist on Top Chef and writer of the new “Good Stuff” cookbook, Spike has taken the burger to tremendous heights, even to the point of “gourmet”!

I first heard of Spike and his hamburgers from Chef-owner of Bistro Boquete, Lauretta Bonfiglio. Upon further investigation, I learned that Spike grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, my home town, and I just discovered that his parents own Pepin, a very popular restaurant I’ve visited many times! Little Spike must have been cooking in the kitchen at the time I was enjoying the fine cuisine at Pepin years ago.

The other day, Lauretta shared her copy of Spike’s book with me and I immediately wanted to learn some of Spike’s recipes. I wanted to duplicate them in my kitchen. Spike’s luscious burgers inspired Lauretta to present a cooking class for Boquete Gourmet, teaching some of the many tricks and secrets that are making hamburgers the newest, trendiest “gourmet” entree.

Below is the cover of Spike’s perfect, all-American cookbook for anyone who loves great casual comfort food like burgers, fries, and shakes, but wants to shake things up with a gourmet touch, like me. Spike opened his new restaurant in Washington D.C., “Good Stuff Eatery”, and it’s always full of customers who enjoy truly gourmet dining.

As you can see, Spike also makes fantastic milkshakes, sides and salads, some of which will be included in Lauretta’s menu for her “Gourmet Burgers & More” cooking class to be held on Friday, September 24, beginning at 5:00pm. The class will be held in my El Santuario, Boquete, Panama kitchen, where I’ve recently added a couple very unique kitchen appliances you’ll soon see.

The $25 fee includes the hands-on class, recipe book, full-course dinner including 3 entrees, Lauretta’s twist on one of Spike’s famous shakes, and a glass of wine. Make your reservations today at, as seats are limited.

You won’t want to miss learning how to make Spike’s “good stuff’ in your own Boquete kitchen.
Talk about inspired!