Burgers are taking Colorado by storm with chefs showing off what they can do with a hunk of ground meat.

On Aug. 8, at the Denver Burger Battle at the Sculpture Park, 1400 Curtis St. in Denver, 12 burger enthusiasts pitted their patties against each other.

Jeff Richard, owner of Crave Real Burger with locations in Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock and Colorado Springs, was among the chefs who competed. Last year his Wiseguy burger won the People's Choice in the battle and a trip to Las Vegas for the national burger slap-down. It's a monster of a burger with a beef patty topped with deep-fried mozzarella, prosciutto, tomatoes, pesto, fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh onions. Richard created the Sin City burger for the finals in Vegas. It features cheddar cheese, candied spicy bacon, sliced avocado, lettuce, smoky ketchup sauce and bourbon-glazed onions. That number got him a third place in the finals. He tempted this year's judges and the public with the Sin City burger and again he was in the winners circle; he placed second for the People's Choice and third for the judge's vote.

Although Richard has gained a reputation of building massive burgers, the chefs at the Westin Snowmass have outdone him with the Mammoth Burger - a tribute to the Snowmass mammoth fossil finds. One pound of Angus chuck beef is topped with four cheeses, Hatch green chilies, pork belly bacon, tobacco onion rings, lettuce and tomato and sauced up with harissa ketchup. Fries with that burger? Why not, when you're talking Parmesan-parsley-garlic fries.

Cost is $32 and it's meant for sharing with three to four people. If you can get away with it solo, you earn the privilege (or embarrassment) of having your name engraved on a plaque displayed at The Bar at Wildwood. Call 1-800-525-9402. Visit westinsnowmass.com or wildwoodsnowmass.com.

Fair contest

It's time to get out your recipe box and pick your favorite formulas to enter the Colorado State Fair cooking contest. The fair runs Aug. 23 through Sept. 3. This year, there's a new kid on the block: Scratch Bakers Cookie Challenge. You need to use Gold Medal flour to create any style, size or shape of cookies. Judging is based on appearance, flavor and texture. Prizes are $100, $50 and $25. Preregistration is required. To get all contest details, visit coloradostate fair.com. Call 1-719-404-2080.

Starry, starry night

Starlight Dining at The Venetucci Farm, 5210 S. U.S. 85, is an evening not to miss. Local chefs prepare dinners with ingredients picked fresh at the farm the day of the meal. Sept. 16 is the last event this year. Amy Fairbanks, executive chef at Garden of the Gods Gourmet, and Joshua Davis, executive chef at Sonterra Innovative Southwestern Grill, will prepare the dinner, which is served on the farm deck. Tour the farm at 5 p.m. and dine at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $125 per person. Call 389-1251. Visit ppcf.org.

House chef finds home

Robert "BB" Brunet, owner of The House Chef of Colorado Springs, is opening his Mamma Pearl's Cajun Kitchen at 6620 B Delmonico Drive, next door to Cleats Bar and Grill. This has been the home to a fajita place and barbecue joint most recently. Brunet may have a better chance at a longer run here than his predecessors, since he has a thriving catering business. Call 964-0234. Visit coloradohousechef.com.

Sushi Ring on a roll

Sushi Ring, 1861 S. Nevada Ave., has opened a second location, 308 S. Eight St. The eatery is famous for the all-you-can-eat specials for lunch and dinner. Call 635-9744. Visit sushiring.com.

"KVOR Table Talk"

Guests on the "KVOR Table Talk" radio show on 740 AM, 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday:

- Deborah James O'Loughlin, with Colorado Springs Dance Theatre, talks about the Wine Festival at the Colorado Springs School Trianon, 21 Broadmoor Ave. at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 24. For $45 per person or $80 per couple, you can enjoy food from Marigold Caf?and Bakery, Jake and Telly's Greek Taverna, The Food Designers, Nosh, Cravings Catering, Tajine Alami, The Famous, A Steakhouse, Patty Jewett Bar and Grill and The Curry Leaf. Beverages are from Vintages Wine & Spirits, Colorado Springs School and Bristol Brewing Co. A dance performance will feature contemporary ballet by Wonderbound. Call 630-7434. Visit csdance.org.

- Jo Marini, an owner of The Local food truck, talks the expansion of the business to the former Raven's Nest Coffee, 330 N. Institute St. The focus of the menu is serving up locally sourced, organic foods. Marini and her partners have been training to learn the finer points of being baristas. Call 339-7722. Visit thelocalcolorado.com.

- Tony Smith, general manager of Gabriel's Northern Italian Restaurant, 5450 Manhart Ave. in Sedalia, talks about the Taste of Douglas County held at the Douglas County Event Center, 500 FairgroundsDrive in Castle Rock, 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 22. Cost is $10 per person in advance and $20 per person at the door to sample food from more than 50 eateries, including Old Stone Church, Outback Steakhouse, John Holly's Asian Bistro, LoDo's Bar & Grill, Pegasus on the Square, Black Eyed Pea and Siena Italian Bistro. There will be cooking demonstrations by Grandview High School ProStart students. Call 1-303-903-0017. Buy tickets online at tasteofdouglascounty.com or at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, 5850 Barnes Road, and The Airplane Restaurant, 1665 N. Newport Road.


Send tips about restaurant openings, closings, menu changes and food specials to teresa.

farney@gazette.com, 636-0271, Twitter @tffoodie or Facebook Teresa Farney.