Florida International University student wins $10,000 scholarship

Carla St.Louis | 3/6/2014, 9 a.m.
Derrick Deal

Derrick Deal is celebrating the opportunity of a lifetime thanks to Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc.

The senior at Florida International University’s (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management was declared the winner of Red Robin’s Golden Robin Contest on February 5.

Deal’s winning recipe earned him a $10,000 scholarship. It also earned him the chance for his Bubblin’ Brown Sugar Bar-B-Que Burger to be featured as a limited-time menu offering at participating Red Robin® restaurants nationwide.

"This scholarship plays a significant role for my career," said Deal who is pursuing a career in hospitality but is also passionate about cooking. " Being a hospitality management major at Florida International University provides a platform to highlight my creativity [...] It’s good to be well-rounded in this industry and I believe my experience from this contest would be a great talking point in the future."

Deal's scene stealing burger stood out for its tavern-style taste that featured a salty, sweet and savory flavor profile.

"The name of my burger is the “Bubblin’ Brown Sugar BBQ Burger,” and what makes it special is the bacon's candied with brown sugar," said Deal. " The burger also includes caramelized red onions, sharp cheddar cheese and Heinz Honey BBQ Sauce."

Deal plans to use his award money to fund the remainder of his senior classes and towards attending graduate school at Cornell University.

A few weeks ago, he had the opportunity of serving his pub-inspired gourmet burger creation alongside celebrity chef Robert Irvine at the Amstel Light Burger Bash. The event, held on February 21, was part of the 8th Annual Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE Magazine.

“In our latest quest to find the most innovative burger recipe, we are proud to have collaborated with the dynamic and brilliant students at FIU, like Derrick, and we are delighted to serve his winning creation at the Amstel Light Burger Bash,” said John Schaufelberger, Red Robin’s vice president of brand marketing.

Amstel Light Burger Bash is America’s most prestigious burger competition, which brings together the country’s top culinary maestros and chefs, giving them the opportunity to display their creations and battle it out for burger supremacy.

Deal’s victory came as a result of an ongoing partnership between Red Robin, Food Network, South Beach Wine & Food Festival and FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.