Yoshiharu Sogi, a chef from Sonoma, Calif., is the winner of White Castle’s “2023 Slider Showdown” recipe contest. His winning creation, a tantalizing dish called the French Sliders Brunch, captivated the judges with its delightful interplay of flavors and its elegant presentation and proved that even the most unassuming ingredients can be elevated to new culinary heights.
As the contest winner, Yoshiharu will receive free White Castle Sliders for a year, lots of craveable White Castle swag, and a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to visit White Castle’s home office and test kitchen.
“We are so excited to introduce Yoshiharu’s winning recipe and share it with our fans nationwide,” says Lynn Blashford, chief marketing officer for the family-owned White Castle. “His creation is a true testament to the culinary creativity and passion that exists among our loyal customers.”
Yoshiharu, who owns a catering business with his wife, has been a long-time fan of White Castle. Living far from a White Castle restaurant, he regularly takes store-bought Sliders to potlucks, adding his own personal touch to any dish he creates. So, it wasn’t surprising that when his wife read about the Slider Showdown recipe contest, she encouraged him to enter.
“The basic structure of White Castle Sliders is simple, so there is a lot of room to add your own creations,” Yoshiharu says. “Slider buns have great flavor and texture. They are soft and light with a buttery note, which is delicious. The grilled onions on the meat also make a great accent.”
Yoshiharu said it didn’t take long for him to come up with the recipe. At the heart of his creation lies the fast-food chain’s signature Slider. But Yoshiharu added strawberries, crispy bacon and yogurt cream cheese and turned the bun into a cinnamon infused French toast waffle, transforming the humble little Slider into a gastronomic delight fit for the most discerning palates.
As a certified wine specialist, Yoshiharu recommends a sparkling, extra dry wine or a sparkling wine cocktail like a mimosa to accompany the dish.
White Castle launched the Slider Showdown in July to find the tastiest, most mouthwatering recipes featuring Sliders as the main ingredient. Participants had to create a recipe using at least six White Castle beef Sliders – purchased from a restaurant or a retail grocery, club or convenience store – and post a video and/or photo of the recipe on Instagram or TikTok.
A panel of judges, which included White Castle CEO and 4th generation family leader Lisa Ingram, members of White Castle’s leadership team, and TV personality Adam Richman, who is also a member of the White Castle Cravers Hall of Fame, evaluated the recipes on taste, presentation, appeal, originality and video quality. Yoshiharu’s French Sliders Brunch beat out lots of other recipes, including an eclectic mix of Slider-based burritos, onion rings, meatballs and more.
“Yoshiharu’s triumph is a testament to his culinary prowess and his ability to see beyond the ordinary,” Blashford says. “He has transformed our iconic Slider into a dish that is both familiar and refreshingly innovative and proven that even the smallest of burgers can hold the key to culinary greatness.”