Join Gut Check at the Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge

Sugarfire Smokehouse will defend its title at this weekend's Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge. | Jennifer Silverberg

Alive magazine is holding its sixth annual Top Chef Ultimate Burger Challenge this Sunday, August 17. And guess what? Gut Check is helping judge! The competition pits six local chefs against each other to see who can cook up the best burger. We'll be nibbling on each one, but you can too.

See also: Top Chef: St. Louis? Local Chefs Compete in Burger Cookoff

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Non-Profit Rallies to Save the World's Largest Catsup Bottle

Save me! | Google Street View

Earlier this week we reported that the World's Largest Catsup Bottle in Collinsville is for sale (along with a warehouse) for $500,000. There is a non-profit organization that doesn't own any of the landmark but advocates for it and holds the annual festival. We spoke to president Mike Gassman about why saving the catsup bottle is important and what he hopes will happen.

See also: The World's Largest Catsup Bottle is For Sale

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10 Things You Didn't Know About Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

The Heath bar concrete. | Ian Froeb

Ted Drewes (6726 Chippewa Street; 314-481-2652) is a St. Louis institution, but you already knew that. Any St. Louisan worth their salt can conjure up daydreams of that creamy custard. But there are some things you (probably) don't know about the historic Route 66 landmark. Warning: Delicious photos ahead.

See also: #11: The Heath Bar Concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

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Food Wine Design Culinary Week Celebrates Three of Our Favorite Things

Copper River salmon a la Plancha with a soy-ginger glaze, black carrots and puree of English peas. | St. Louis Magazine

You already know we love food. We also love wine. But did you know we love design? The three actually go pretty well together, and all next week they'll be combined in one delicious package. The best chefs in St. Louis are getting together for St. Louis' Food Wine Design event next week. And when we say best, we aren't exaggerating.

See also: Hugh Jackman Fed the Beast at Pappy's

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Happy Memorial Day From Gut Check

RFT Photo

Happy Memorial Day, Gut Checkers! We hope you're enjoying your day off as much as we are. The pools are open, the beer is cold and summer is here. We won't be posting today, but we'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. In the meantime, be sure to watch our video from last weekend's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

See also: Wild Flower Celebrates Memorial Day with All-Night Pig Roast, All-Day Feast

Maplewood Becomes First Green Dining District


The city of Maplewood has teamed up with the Green Dining Alliance to become the first-ever Green Dining District. That means at least 25 percent of all independently-owned businesses are Green Dining Alliance-certified. Basically, the GDA helps businesses with sustainability and green business practices while also helping them save money. So far, there are eight restaurants in downtown Maplewood that are GDA-certified.

See also: First Look: Blind Tiger's Pizza and Speakeasy-Inspired Drinks in Maplewood

Rachelle L'Ecuyer, manager of Maplewood's Special Business District (a.k.a. downtown), got involved with GDA and became a member of its steering committee. "I thought we [Maplewood] were an ideal location," she tells us. "It's almost a no-brainer."

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Mayor Slay Explains Provel to an Arkansas Middle Schooler

Provel-covered pizza at Basso. | Jennifer Silverberg

A mere mention of Provel in St. Louis is sure to provoke one of two feelings: admiration or disdain. There is no in between. Love it or hate it, it's ingrained in St. Louis' culture and culinary scene. So when a girl from an Arkansas border town wrote to Mayor Francis Slay about St. Louis, he just had to give Provel a shoutout.

See also: Today is Officially "Imo's Day" in St. Louis

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Whisk Rolls Out Grown-Up Popsicles Like Avocado and Goat Cheese-Blackberry

The latest fresh, natural pops from Whisk Bake Shop. | Nancy Stiles

We are just dying for spring. The weather keeps teasing us, but we know soon we will be dripping with sweat in 100 plus degree weather with 80 percent humidity. We've already found something that will quench our thirst come those dehydrated days: popsicles from Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop .

See also: Best Cupcakes 2013: Whisk a Sustainable Bakeshop Whips Up All Natural Treats

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How Chef Liz Schuster Interprets Mean Girls as a Five-Course Menu for Tenacious Eats

"Gretchen Weiners Had Cracked": housemade tater tots with Hebrew National all-beef wiener (get it?), buttered and grilled challah, fresh arugula and baby kale, tomato, cracked pink peppercorn and housemade Caesar dressing. | Nancy Stiles

Tenacious Eats is the most ephemeral of all pop-up restaurants. There's a completely original menu for just one night -- sometimes two -- and then it's gone forever. Chef Liz Schuster and her team create gourmet five-course dinners that will keep you coming back, even if you can't taste that local rabbit with with morel mushrooms, prunes, juniper berry, garlic, white wine and fresh thyme ever again.

See also: Tenacious Eats Blends Film and Cuisine

The craziest part may be, though, that all of this starts with gas-station fried chicken.

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Ken Stringer Launches Kickstarter to Bring His Homemade "Kick-Ass Hot Sauce" to Market

Ken Stringer with his signature sauces. | Courtesy Ken Stringer

Ken Stringer first started making his own sauces in 2009 because he didn't want to pay $3 a bottle for Tiger Sauce. He grew his own cayenne peppers in pots out back on his deck and made sauce for himself and his friends. "They were like, 'This is really good. This isn't right if you don't sell this,'" Five years later, he's launching Ken's Pepper Works.

See also: Help Cafe on the Park Come to Maplewood

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