The burger was named in honor of the Olympic snowboarder.
During the 2006 Winter Olympics, snowboarding phenomenon Shaun White earned a cheeky nickname: the Flying Tomato. His shock of long, curly red hair coupled with his aerial tricks captured the public’s adoration. White made his debut at the 2006 Winter Olympics more than ten years ago, and at this year’s games, he’s still known as the Flying Tomato to fans. Take a chef in PyeongChang, who named the burger on his menu Flying Tomato, in honor of White and the Olympic games. He probably never expected the athlete to actually show up to his restaurant to try the burger for himself, but that’s exactly what happened.
The snowboarder first heard about chef Cha Gwen Sol’s Flying Tomato burger from the staff Phoenix Snow Park, where he’ll be competing in the halfpipe qualifiers this Tuesday, according to a report from Reuters. Cha Gwen Sol put the burger on the menu at his restaurant, Santa Burger, as an Olympic gimmick—it’s priced at around $920—so he never imagined that Shaun White himself would show up to order one.
“Is it real? This is Shaun White? It is not a dream? Shaun White tells me it is real. Oh my God, unbelievable,” the chef gushed after White stopped by on Sunday. "He ordered from me the Flying Tomato Burger and so I cook it for him. Today is a very happy day.” Of course, White enjoyed his meal on the house.
Local businesses are struggling to stay afloat during the Olympics (except for the local fish market, that is). The snow parks and resorts are closed to the public during the duration of the Olympics, which means that business from tourism has also slowed. Cha Gwen Sol—who is also a snowboarding instructor—says the visit from White lifted his spirits during this difficult time. In fact, he says he’s already looking forward to watching the halfpipe final with his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, and is rooting for White to win the third gold medal of his Olympic career.