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Published on March 16th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Habit Burger Grill’s Chef Adam Baird On Habit’s New Tempura Jalapeno Charburger & More

The Habit Burger Grill — also known by the short nickname of “Habit” — is an American fast casual restaurant chain that specializes in charbroiled hamburgers. From 1969 to 2007, the chain slowly expanded around the Los Angeles metropolitan area to 23 restaurants. By 2014, Habit had 109 locations either open for business or under construction. One of the fastest-growing fast food chains in the United States, Habit also had a fleet of 9 food trucks by the end of 2017, and on January 5, 2020 it was publicly-announced that Yum! Brands announced was acquiring The Habit Burger Grill.

Chef Adam Baird is a graduate, notably with high honors, of the prestigious Culinary Institute Of America in New York. The Australian native has a rich and all-encompassing background in the food service industry with over 25 years of experience. Past positions include work as sous chef at Auberge De Soleil in Rutherford, California and as executive sous chef at the Greystone Wine Spectator Restaurant and the Culinary Institute Of America’s restaurant location in St. Helena, California. Baird has also overseen catering operations at a variety of high-end California-based wineries.

These days, Chef Adam Baird is the Vice President of Food & Beverage at The Habit Burger Grill, which recently unveiled a Tempura Jalapeno Charburger. This unveiling came on the heels of Habit topping Thrillist’s list of “Underrated Burger Chains that Need to be in Every State.” I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with Baird on behalf of The Hype Magazine. More on The Habit Burger Grill can be found by visiting www.habitburger.com and/or www.instagram.com/habitburgergrill.

You studied at the Culinary Institute Of America. As a native of Australia, had you been to the U.S. before choosing study with the Culinary Institute Of America?

Chef Adam Baird: I was born in Australia and we immigrated when I was 5. I grew up in the Chicago area and went to the University Of Illinois. A few years in the business and after I graduated I went to the CIA in New York.

You have worked with a variety of restaurants and also have been part of developing major food and beverage programs. What was your first-ever restaurant job?

Chef Adam Baird: A family-run Italian restaurant that made everything from scratch. I washed the dishes and then started cooking.

How did you wind up on the Habit Burger Grill team?

Chef Adam Baird: Our CEO Russ Bendel and I worked together for years at Mimis Café growing that concept, he then brought me over in 2012 to further evolve the menu and run purchasing. As we grew, my role continued to change.

Habit recently unveiled the Tempura Jalapeno Charburger. What exactly inspired that?

Chef Adam Baird: A unique burger that combines spice, sweet n’ sour with a crunch. Ethnic and bold are trends that come together. I also spun this from our Tempura Green Beans. We ran the first version a few years ago, but this is next level 2.0. We added the Jalapeno Jam and the brioche to these versions.

New Tempura Jalapeno Charburger aside, what is coming up for Habit?

Chef Adam Baird: We have a robust test timeline and LTO calendar. Next, we are looking at a summer asparagus salad – fresh and delicious.

Do you have a favorite item on the Habit menu?

Chef Adam Baird: The Ahi Tuna is always great, but I truly like it all.

When not busy with Habit, where does your free time usually go?

Chef Adam Baird: I spend time with my family, we have 2 children who keep us very busy. We enjoy playing ice hockey and cooking with friends, we love entertaining.

What was the last concert you attended for fun?

Chef Adam Baird: The Imagine Dragons with my daughter and her friend at the Hollywood Bowl.

Finally, Chef Adam, any last words for the kids?

Chef Adam Baird: Always seek unique and bold flavor systems, texture is very important in creating unique approaches to designing menu items.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."


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