James Beard Foundation Announces Winners of Blended Burger Project™
NEW YORK, NY - Food companies have already been incorporating plant-based products into their offerings, but the foodservice world is also finding new ways to incorporate more produce into their menus. The acclaimed culinary organization, James Beard Foundation, has been making moves in a similar direction with its Blended Burger Project™, a summer-long campaign challenging restaurants and foodservice professionals to concoct delicious, nutritious, and sustainable burgers by blending meat with mushrooms. Now in its fifth year, the campaign drew in contributions from nearly 500 restaurants from all 50 states, and 402,000 consumers voted on the winners.
“The continued excitement we’ve seen from chefs to add fresh, chopped mushrooms to burger patties for a more sustainable, flavorful burger has resulted in the best year of the Blended Burger Project to date,” said Kris Moon, Chief Operating Officer, in a press release. “Congratulations to the five winners and thank you to all who participated.”
The campaign ran from Memorial Day through July 31, and restaurants all over the country came up with imaginative and inventive renditions of a blended burger. Consumers voted on their favorites, whittling the competition down to 25 restaurants. The top 25 were reviewed by a judging panel of culinary wizards and industry experts, including Chris Morocco, Senior Food Editor for Bon Appétit; David Stample, Celebrity Chef and Philanthropist; and Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest, Star Butchers and Co-Founders of J&E SmallGoods. The discerning judges narrowed the pool down to the final five winners.
This year’s blended burger champions are:
- Burger Shack, Lahaina, HI: The Maui ‘Ono Mushroom Burger - a 70/30 grass-fed Maui beef and Kiawe-smoked king ali’i’ mushroom patty on a toasted brioche bun, topped with upcountry watercress, pickled hon shimeji mushrooms, red onion, carrot salad, Bel Paese cheese, and kimchee ketchup.
- Hops at 84 East, Holland, MI: The Trumpet Burger - a 75/25 local brisket and trumpet mushroom grind garnished with Roelli Red Rock cheddar bleu, house bacon, gochujang-pickled wild foraged ramps, local arugula, and duck fat mayo on a black and white sesame bun.
- Playalinda Brewing Company, Titusville, FL: The Viva Ybor! Burger - a soppressata-seasoned beef, pork, and crimini mushroom blended patty topped with swiss, cured sweet ham, mojo pork pernil, English mustard, and house-made mustard pickles on fresh Cuban bread.
- Pompano Grill, Cocoa Beach, FL: The Psychedelic Phish Burger - a blended patty of local Florida-caught cobia, Scottish salmon, and roasted crimini mushrooms with hoisin sauce, ginger, and garlic. The patty is coated in a tuxedo sesame and panko crust, topped with soy wasabi mayo, pickled shiitake mushrooms, and arugula on a porcini mushroom-dusted brioche bun.
- Vintage Year, Montgomery, AL: The Blended Burger - a mix of Alabama wagyu, crimini, and oyster mushrooms with shaved fennel, apple, onion and ginger slaw, spiced sorghum glaze, and red kale on a brioche bun.
Chefs from the winning restaurants will be invited to cook their blended burgers at the historic James Beard House in New York City on October 23. Each of the winners will also be taking home a cool $5,000. Don’t mind me, I’m just booking my tickets, planning my break-in to the James Beard House, and bringing my Hawaiian flag to root for that ‘ono sounding blended burger from the islands. For all you Mainlanders, quick lesson time: ‘ono = Hawaiian for 'delicious' and Ono = a type of fish (Wahoo if you want to get specific).
For more news on industry competitions, keep reading AndNowUKnow.