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McDonald's Now Sells a Burger Made by a Michelin-Starred Chef

Award-winning chef Paul Cunningham created a burger for McDonald's Denmark which promptly sold out.
FACT CHECKED BY Mura Dominko

While McDonald's in the U.S. uses celebrity partnerships to promote menu staples already in existence, the brand has utilized celebrity power to create a brand new menu item in Europe. In January, McDonald's Denmark unveiled a new partnership with chef Paul Cunningham, one of the country's most renowned culinary geniuses. Chef Cunningham has created a high-end burger for the chain's latest limited-time offer, which ended up selling out just a few weeks later due to its overwhelming popularity.

The Homestyle Bearnaise, as Cunningham's creation is called, consists of a beef patty layered with Béarnaise sauce, potato sticks, smoked onion puree, roasted onions, lettuce, and cheddar cheese, and is served atop a brioche bun. Unfortunately, the offer is only available in the Danish market, but the partnership leaves us wondering whether a chef collaboration could be coming to American menus as well. (Related: McDonald's Is Making These 8 Major Upgrades.)

English-born Cunningham has been the head chef at Henne Kirkeby Kro, a restaurant with two Michelin stars in western Denmark, since 2012. The establishment, which is part of an eponymous inn, was awarded its first star in 2016 and the second just one year later, both under Cunningham's culinary leadership.

However, not everyone is as thrilled about the collaboration as the fast-food chain's Danish customers. The move on Cunningham's part has drawn some controversy in culinary circles. According to Robb Report, acclaimed chef Christian Puglisi has characterized Cunningham's partnership with McDonald's as "a betrayal of values."

"You cannot participate in symposiums, you cannot talk about quality produce, you cannot discuss and try to communicate cooking culture, traditional dishes and homey cooking on one hand and on the other hand be an advocate for the worst garbage that is produced and called food at the same time," Puglisi said in an Instagram post.

While the burger is currently unavailable, McDonald's Denmark has promised the item would be making a comeback soon.

For more on fast-food celebrity collaborations in the U.S., check out 7 Celeb-Endorsed Fast-Food Meals That Drove Fans Crazy, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more