In the kitchen with Mike Pham: The chef behind Trill Burgers

HOUSTON – Fresh off his win on the ‘Burger: Impossible’ episode of Food Network’s ‘Chopped,’ Trill Burgers chef and co-owner Mike Pham is showing you how to make a mouthwatering burger at home.

The Vietnamese-American chef also chatted with Houston Life about the resounding success of the Montrose restaurant led by Bun B which has become a staple of Houston since it opened its doors in June of 2023.

Trill Burgers has quickly turned into a favorite for locals and celebrities such as Drake, Shaquille O’Neill, Mike Tyson, and Ludacris. The demand has been so big, that they recently opened a late-night drive-thru open 7 days a week from 9 pm to Midnight.

And Pham definitely knows burgers! He opened more than a dozen quick-service restaurants in Southern California with Trill Burgers partner Andy Nguyen before settling on his first, love, burgers. Chef Mike’s first restaurant project out of culinary school was Savori Burgers, which he opened in his hometown of Fountain Valley, Calif. when he was 22 years old.

Keep reading to take a look at one of Chef Pham’s recipes you can try at home.

To see his complete cooking and assembly tips, check out his complete interview on Houston Life in the video above.

He also shared what he’s planning to do with the $10,000 prize he got from Chopped!

The Creamy Pesto Alioli Burger


1. 3 lb. All Chuck Group Beef 75/25 (makes 8 6oz patties)

2. 8 Fluffy potato bun (any soft bun could work)

3. 3 oz Sun-dried tomatoes (store-bought)

4. 1 Yellow Onion

5. 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

6. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

7. 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil, or EVOO.

8. 2 cloves garlic, minced

9. 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

10. 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

11. Heavy Whipping Cream

12. 1/2 cup Mayo

13. 2 Romaine Hearts

14. 1 Stick butter

15. 16 slices White American Cheese


1. Form Ground Beef Into burger patties. We want to pat nice and soft to keep the patty fluffy. Make a slight indentation with your thumb right in the center of the burger. This will help cook the center of the burger. Set aside.

2. We prepare our Romaine lettuce by first washing and then drying them. Cut the lettuce in half lengthwise. Remove the core by making triangle cuts. Cut into thin julianes starting from the leafy end towards the core end.

3. Cut our onions into thin Half Moon Slices.

4. Chop store-bought sun-dried tomatoes. Refresh our sundried tomatoes by heating a pan and adding a tablespoon of EVOO. Saute the chopped tomatoes and season to taste.

1. We add basil, parmesan, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to a food processor to make our nut-free pesto. (You can also use premade pesto as well) Blend the ingredients and gradually include our EVOO to get our emulsification. Once the pesto has been fully married, set aside.

2. Heat a small pot and add a tablespoon of EVOO. Introduce our pesto to the heat and stir until the aroma blossoms. At this point, we add our heavy cream to the mixture. When the mixture gets nice and thick, season, remove from heat, and chill.

3. Once the Pesto Cream is chilled, we mix in our mayo to make our Pesto Aioli.


1. We want to preheat our grill to at least 375° F.

2. Season the bottom side down with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

3. Place the bottom side down on the griddle and let the patty develop a nice sear.

4. Season the other side of the patty as it is searing.

5. Flip the burger once it develops a nice sear.

6. Place the cube of butter on top of the patty and add cheese slices.

Assemble in this order from bottom to top

1. Toast the buns.

2. Spread Pesto Aioli across the bottom bun.

3. Onions

4. Lettuce

5. Burger Patty with Cheese

6. Sundried tomatoes

7. Top off and Enjoy

Recipe provided by Chef Mike Pham.

To connect with Trill Burgers, click here.

About the Author:

Beatriz is a producer for Houston life. She’s a dog mom who enjoys traveling and eating her way through new cities and cultures.