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Temecula Valley's Battle of the Burgers Winners Announced

Sunday, January 21, 2024 7:00 PM

To celebrate an enduring icon of American cuisine, more than 400 hungry attendees and a panel of judges selected Temecula Valley’s “Best Burger” and “Loaded Fries” at the Battle of the Burgers competition held at Pechanga Resort Casino on January 20, 2024. There were two food categories: Best Burger, with seven Temecula Valley eateries participating, and Best Loaded Fries, comprised of 11 dishes created by local high school culinary students with guidance from Pechanga Resort Casino chefs.

Voting categories were Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice. A five-panel group of judges included James “Stew” Stewart, Mayor of the City of Temecula; Pam Kragen, San-Diego Union-Tribune; Ashley Ludwig,Temecula Patch; Priscilla Tapia, Temecula Foodies; and Joel Greene, IE (Inland Empire) Explorer. Event attendees, which included 400 ticket holders, also submitted ballots for the People’s Choice award.

The winners are as follows in the Best Burger category:

Judge’s Choice:

First Place: Devilicious Eatery Wawahi Burger

Second Place; Mad Madeline’s Grill Redneck Burger

Third Place: 8 Bit Brewing Co. Super Smash Burger

People’s Choice:

First Place: Mad Madeline’s Grill Redneck Burger

Second Place: Baily’s Old Town Classic Burger

Third Place: 8 Bit Brewing Co. Super Smash Burger

These winning burgers are available for purchase at their restaurants through March 31, 2024.

The following student/chef teams won awards for their Best Loaded Fries creations. Note: These items are not on restaurant menus, as chefs worked with students to create unique entries for the event:

Judge’s Choice:

First Place: Kelsey’s and students Ian Dalebout, Tanner Olson, and Diego Romero Second Place: Blazing Noodles and students Carter Crouse and Hailey Mellinger

Third Place: Banquets & Catering/Pechanga and students Kimberly Bazan, Brian Sheridan, and Zachary Truong

People’s Choice:

First Place: Kelsey’s, Cowboy Fries

Second Place: Banquets & Catering/Pechanga, Spicy Spaghetti Fries

Third Place: Blazing Noodles, Philly Cheesesteak Fries

“What an amazing afternoon watching students, chefs, families, and more than 400 attendees from around the region enjoy this friendly competition,” said Scott A. Wilson, CEO of Visit Temecula Valley. “Our judges and attendees eagerly taste-tested their way through 18 samples of delicious burgers and loaded fries, all for a great cause.”

Now in its fourth year, the popular competition is a collaborative effort between Visit Temecula Valley, Pechanga Resort Casino, and the Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD). All funds benefit the Temecula Valley Unified School District Career Technical Education (CTE) Culinary Arts Program, which engages students in hands-on, interactive, work-based learning to help prepare them for high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand careers.  

About the Temecula Valley Unified School District CTE Program 

Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways are a series of sequential elective courses available to all students that combine academic, technical, and employability skills. Many of these courses offer students the opportunity to earn free college credit and/or industry certifications. All CTE courses engage students in hands-on, interactive work-based learning that will help to prepare them for high skill, high wage, and in demand careers. For more information visit

About Pechanga Resort Casino

Pechanga Resort Casino offers the one of the most expansive resort/casino experiences anywhere in the United States. Voted best casino in the west by the readers of USA Today’s 10Best and rated a Four Diamond property by AAA since 2002, Pechanga Resort Casino provides an unparalleled getaway. Pechanga Resort Casino is owned and operated by the Pechanga Band of Indians. For more information visit

About Visit Temecula Valley 

Visit Temecula Valley (VTV) is a nonprofit 501 (c)(6) destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting tourism-related businesses including wineries, restaurants, breweries, retail and specialty boutiques, hotels, short-term rentals, and more. It is a popular Southern California destination that includes Temecula Valley Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, and Pechanga Resort Casino. In 2019, Wine Enthusiast named Temecula Valley a 10 Best Wine Travel Destination, in the world. For more information visit