The third annual Blended Burger Project™ ended with a bang. The contest closed with entries from 414 restaurants* in 45 states and more than 400,000 consumer votes. Over the past nine weeks, the Blended Burger Project™ created a buzz on social media with more than 4,700 unique posts on Instagram and Twitter using the #BlendedBurgerProject hashtag.
“The Blended Burger Project™ is a phenomenal opportunity for chefs to make their dishes more plant-forward and for patrons to discover how their favorite foods can be made healthier and more sustainably, simply by substituting 25%-50% of the burger’s protein with mushrooms,” said Kristopher Moon, vice president of the James Beard Foundation. “Chains, diners, white-tablecloth bistros, upscale eateries in the heart of cities, the suburbs and small towns developed thoughtful and creative blended burgers. We congratulate and appreciate all those who took part.”
As voted by the public, the talented winning chefs will prepare their burgers at an exclusive Blended Burger Project™ event hosted at the historic James Beard House. Toni Elkhouri of Cedar’s Cafe is now a two-time winner of the contest and continues to participate because he “loves the idea of bringing the community together around healthy eating!”
The five winning restaurants are:
- Bareburger, New York, N.Y.– The Porchetta Burger is a 50/50 mushroom and wild boar blend, topped with a black-garlic aioli, broccoli rabe, oven-roasted tomatoes, aged provolone cheese on a ciabatta bun.
- The Bistro at Topsail, Surf City, N.C.– The Goomba Burger is local grass-fed Mills Family Farm beef blended with confit oyster and portobello mushrooms, topped with havarti, shiitake "bacon," lemongrass aioli, heirloom tomato and baby arugula on a house baked bun.
- Cedar’s Café, Melbourne, Fla. – Brevard’s Taste of Summer Burger is a blend of mushrooms and lamb on an apricot- and liquid-smoke-glazed bun, with sour cherry mustard, basil, brie and a herb lemon caper walnut relish.
- Houston Yacht Club, La Porte, Texas – The Greeklish Burger consists of a beef chuck, cremini mushroom and caper patty on a brioche bun and basil aioli with feta melted over the patty, topped with a mini Greek salad and paprika oil.
- VINTAGE Kitchen, Norfolk, Va. – The Backyard Burger is grass-fed beef blended with confit oyster mushrooms, aged double cheddar and cracklin', charred ramp mayo, bacon rust, cab franc molasses, crispy hayman potato straws, coffee salt, demi-pain perdu and brown butter mornay, cooked in a cast-iron skillet.
First-time winner and participant Phillip Craig Thomason of VINTAGE Kitchen took on the challenge because he felt it was important to “[highlight] our local farmers and artisans at the national level and to continue to educate our guests about more sustainable foods, hoping of course in the process to raise awareness of JBF's efforts, which personally I find as a chef even more relevant than ever today.”
The Mushroom Council thanks all the chef participants and those who casted their votes daily. Further show your support for the blend by pledging to be a Blenditarian and do better for your health, flavor and sustainability. When you pledge to be a Blenditarian, you will unlock an exclusive recipe booklet featuring more than 10 blended burger recipes by some of the country’s top chefs.
For ideas and inspiration for making The Blend at home, visit www.Blenditarian.com.
*Includes 381 individual restaurants in addition to all participating Bareburgers
This post is sponsored by The James Beard Foundation