“Blendability” will be the underlying theme of several upcoming events planned by the San Jose, Calif.-based Mushroom Council.
The blendability concept, in which chefs or consumers substitute mushrooms for meat or poultry in burgers, meatloaf and other dishes, will be featured at a mushroom booth at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Sept. 19 to Nov. 10 at Walt Disney World, Orlando.
The council also will sponsor a Research Chefs Association Eastern event with a Johnson & Wales recipe contest, Preis said. Details were being finalized.
The Mushroom Council will promote National Mushroom Month in September in all of its social media.
Also in 2014, the council will donate $50,000 to the City of Hope cancer hospital and research center in Duarte, Calif., to fund City of Hope research specific to breast cancer and mushrooms. Several grower-shippers traditionally support Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October by packing their product in pink tills.
Since 2002, the Mushroom Council has provided more than $850,000 to City of Hope for research on mushrooms and cancer, Preis said.
Winners of the council’s Swap It or Top It recipe contest and retail display contest will be announced during National Mushroom Month, Preis said.
The consumer recipe contest launched June 1 and encouraged consumers to submit their best mushroom burger recipes in which patties are swapped, topped or blended with mushrooms, for a chance to win cash prizes.
The promotion also was supported by the Partnership for a Healthier America and Produce for Better Health Foundation.
The consumer recipe contest was complemented by the first Swap It or Top It retail display contest.
More than 600 stores throughout the country enhanced their mushroom displays with council-provided point-of-sale kits. Twenty-one prizes totaling $10,000 will be awarded for the best displays.
On the foodservice side, the council continues to work with colleges and universities to promote mushroom blendability.
Since January, the University of Southern California, Yale University, University of Massachusetts, University of North Texas, Texas A&M and Washington University have hosted Mushroom Mania events, Preis said.
Mushroom Council chefs worked with university chefs to incorporate mushroom blendability onto the campus dining menu.
To build awareness for new menu items the student-focused events include everything from celebrity chefs, cooking contests, mushroom tasting menus and cooking demos to T-shirt giveaways and interactive growing rooms, she said.
The council partnered with chef Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti restaurant to bring mushroom-centric dishes to the second annual Broadway Bites, a seasonal pop-up food market in Greeley Square Park, New York, during June and July, she said.
Mehta offered three mushroom menu items — pork and portabella dumplings, vegetable mushroom dumplings and the Graffiti Burger, an Angus beef and mushroom blended patty topped with pickled onions and shiitake mushrooms.