Breaking: Cole Bowden and The Bob’s Burgers Experiment
Grabbing a bite with the man who decided to make all of Bob's burgers.
BACKSTORY: An amateur chef who founded a popular blog, cooking up recipes for a cartoon character’s pun-tastic burgers
FROM: New England, but now lives in Atlanta
YOU MIGHT KNOW HIM FROM: The Internet
NOW: Working on a cookbook with Loren Bouchard, the creator of Bob’s Burgers, to further spread his culinary inventions to the masses
Bob’s Burgers is a pun lover’s paradise. Created by Loren Bouchard, the irreverent animated series centers around the Belcher family—Bob, who runs the eponymous burger joint alongside his wife, Linda, and their three children, Tina, Gene, and Louise. Dark, dry, and hilarious in equal measure, the show delivers a constant visual and spoken play on words—the flower shop opposite the restaurant, for example, is called The Petalphile. But it’s the chalkboard Burger of the Day specials that are truly punderful: There’s the “Foot Feta-ish,” the “Pepper Don’t Preach,” the “Olive and Let Die,” the “Sit and Spinach,” the “Kales From the Crypt,” and of course “The Child Molester,” a burger advertised behind her dad’s back by the ever-mischievous Louise (and which comes, brilliantly, with free candy). In all, there are over one hundred blackboard burger specials—not including those, like the “Bruschetta-bout It” burger, which are featured or mentioned on the show but aren’t official Burgers of the Day—and with the show’s sixth season premiering this Sunday night, there are plenty more to come.
“I mulled it over for a second and thought, ‘No, let’s actually make that burger. It sounds like it could be really good.'”
For the last two years, an amateur chef named Cole Bowden—an engineer for Honda based in Atlanta—has been devising recipes for, and then actually building, Bob’s burgers for his blog, The Bob’s Burgers Experiment. “It started out in my college apartment,” says Bowden. “I was living with a roommate and we were binge-watching Bob’s Burgers. I remember being hungry and saying, ‘Hey, why don’t we make that burger?’ as a joke. I mulled it over for a second and thought, ‘No, let’s actually make that burger. It sounds like it could be really good.’”
Once Bowden left college and moved to Atlanta for his job, he had more time to get to the meat of his experiment and begin it properly. Of course, there was little more to go on than a comedic pun for each one, so he found he had to get creative quickly—and do his research.
“One of my favorites that I recently made is ‘Blue is the Warmest Cheeseburger,’” says Bowden. “I thought, ‘OK, so it’s blue cheese. What does blue cheese go with?’ and I Googled recipes. A lot of the recipes I’ve come up with have been influenced by other foods that might not necessarily go on a hamburger.”
Odd as the recipes may be, as the show has grown in popularity, so has Bowden’s blog. As it turned out, the big cheese himself, Bouchard, is a fan of the blog, which led to the pair working on a Bob’s-themed cookbook together; The Bob’s Burgers Burger Book is currently set for release in March of 2016. Not bad for something that was only ever meant to be a bit of pun fun.
“The whole purpose,” chuckles the chef, “was just this goofy, silly thing I was doing in the kitchen because I’m a sucker for puns. For a hot second, it was a responsibility, but it took a couple days to realize this is still me goofing off in my kitchen—which is still what it is now. It’s not going to replace The Joy of Cooking. It’s just as much a book for fans of the show as it is for fans of hamburgers. But for people to be making a recipe that I came up with is really humbling. It feels amazing.” FL