As told to Cassandra Landry by Chef Michael Scelfo | Image courtesy of Waypoint


Burgers have been a part of who I am as a cook for a long time.


Sometimes they can be a little bittersweet in the sense that when they're great, they just sell so well, often overshadowing what sometimes are more personal expressions for a chef. I think that's why it's so important to me to give everything to any burger I serve. I'm not a fan of gimmicky toppings. It's really about quality ingredients — people aren't fooled when you just throw a bunch of shit on top that's “cool" or "quirky." 


MUSTS:
— Baking the bread from scratch: "Martin's rolls are delish, but don't people want something they can’t get at home?" Yes, chef. Yes, they do. 
— A custom grind: Scelfo uses three or four cuts to create depth and character "without adding ingredients or cheats."
— Fresh produce.
— A signature sauce with a story: inspired by heritage or personal experience.
— A "shit-load of love." 


CLAIM TO FAME:
Scelfo may be known best in and around Boston for his Secret Burger, which originated during his time at Harvard Square's Russell House Tavern. When he opened his own concept, Alden & Harlow, the burger, with its cheddar tuiles and inimitable patty, went with him. He broke down its components for Boston Magazine in 2014, and remembered a certain patron who ordered him to "go find another cow" when he sold out.  




SUMMER WOULDN'T BE SUMMER WITHOUT BURGERS. SEE WHAT ELSE WE LOVE IN OUR GUIDE TO THE LAST 50 DAYS OF THE SEASON