Great Britain

Chef with roots in Darlington comes up with 'best burger in USA'

A DARLINGTON football fan and chef has created a Scottish-themed burger with Outlander star Sam Heughan to secure the title of "best burger in the USA".

Jason Waddleton, who has been living in Boston, in the US, for 20 years, runs The Haven, the only Scottish restaurant in the city.

Mr Waddleton, who is a keen Darlington supporter and still has family living in the town, created the burger with the help of Scottish actor Sam Heughan, who is best known for his role as James Fraser in Outlander.

He said: “It was a really fun collaboration. Sam knows his burgers and we knew we had a strong contender, the JacoBITE is a soon to be classic. I think the drams we both had during the meeting really helped.”

The competition was put on by Off The Menu and Uber Eats in support of Frontline Foods and paired celebrities with chefs and restaurateurs from 10 cities in the US and Canada to create special one-off burgers that were available for a limited time and received votes from the public.

Mr Waddleton, who went to university in Scotland before moving to the US, still has links to Darlington and has instilled his love for the town's football team – also shared with his dad John, a regular at home and away matches – in his 17-year-old son, Oliver.

While he may have been making a name for himself abroad, his family’s links to the hospitality sector go back to when he grandmother, Nancy Waddleton, from Croft, worked in the Northern Echo’s canteen.

His aunt Jenny Waddleton is also involved in the industry – and once served a pint to George W Bush at the Dun Cow, in Sedgefield, during his visit to the region in 2003.

Mr Waddleton's brings his signature Scottish style to his restaurant, and is known for serving up pints of Belhaven, a lengthy list of single malts and food staples like haggis and deep-fried Mars bars.

Mr Waddleton, who has been able to keep the restaurant open throughout the pandemic, said: "In these tough times it was really great to be recognised over and above the plethora of chain burger joints that exist with their add-on price structures and single temperature ordering models.

"And I have to give credit to The Burger Showdown for coming up with an inspired competition that brings together celebrities and real restaurants on the front lines in their communities.”

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