City Paper is not for tourists
One night a week, blogger Mathew Ramsey puts on a record, pours himself a beer, and shoots porn in the kitchen of his Bloomindale apartment. Well, burger porn.
Ramsey’s the photographer-chef behind PornBurger, a blog he describes as “a year long venture into the dark arts of hamburgery.” The site’s layout follows the classic food photoblog format: Each week, Ramsey posts snapshots of drool-worthy fantasy burgers decked out with fancy ingredients like lobster and foie gras. One, dubbed “The Full Mounty,” oozes bone marrow poutine sauce and melted cheese curds. Another, the “Underberg-er,” is suspended via toothpick over a milkshake infused with Underberg, an herbal digestive bitter made in Germany.
Earlier this month, Ramsey’s labor of love went viral on Gizmodo, and soon after exploded with new traffic from copycat trendsters like Grub Street and Buzzfeed. “It went from a few hundred hits in a day to a few hundred thousand,” says Ramsey. Even publications in France, Spain, and Turkey ran blurbs about the website. ”It seems like burgers are kind of the global language,” he says.
Like Harriet the Spy and Leonardo Da Vinci, Ramsey sketches his best ideas in a notebook. In his kitchen, it’s mad science experimentation. “Very often I’m trying these things for the first time,” he says. Some burgers shine. Others wouldn’t ever make it in a restaurant. But it doesn’t matter: PornBurger is all about the fantasy. “It’s about how it looks … it’s porn for porn’s sake,” he says.
As seductive as his burger buns are, Ramsey’s the first to admit he’s not quite a professional chef. Although he holds an associate’s degree from the California Culinary Academy, he’s a photographer and videographer by trade. For Ramsey, PornBurger is a hobby, not a full-time job. And while a blog-to-book deal would be nice, the end goal is catharsis, not cash. “I wanted to challenge myself and have fun with food … it’s kind of therapy for me,” says Ramsey.
Last Tuesday, Ramsey assembled his latest creation, “The Lolita,” a PB&J-inspired burger wedged between a sliced pâte à choux and topped with peanut butter, onion jam, and seared foie gras. The whole thing took about four hours to prepare—the average amount of time for one of his masterpieces. Check out some behind-the-scenes photos of the process below.
The photo shoot:
CORRECTION: This story initially stated that Ramsey lives in Shaw. He lives in Bloomingdale.
Photos by Tim Regan