Bon Appétit Test Kitchen Editor Chris Morocco (top) and competition finalists Lauren Holley (from left), Tyler Norby and Stephanie Surowiec. ( Courtesy Mushroom Council )

The Mushroom Council and Bon Appétit magazine chose an Atlanta woman’s Chili Maple Brunch Burger for the second annual Blended Burger Project: Home Edition.

Bon Appétit Test Kitchen Editor Chris Morocco cooked the three finalists’ submissions in a virtual cookoff. A video featuring Morocco’s virtual interviews with the home cooks as he prepares their burgers is on the Bon Appétit website.

Lauren Holley’s Chili Maple Brunch Burger took the $10,000 prize from the Mushroom Council.

“Holley set the bar high with her blended burger,” Morocco said in a news release. “I was just completely swept off my feet by this burger. You get mushroom, you get heat and you get richness. It just had everything for me.” 

The finalists and their burgers were:

  • Tyler Norby, Portland, Ore.: Maitake Red Hamburger, beef and white button mushrooms with spices and sauces, with toppings including maitake mushrooms and bacon;
  • Lauren Holley, Atlanta: Chili Maple Brunch Burger, hot Italian ground pork sausage and lean ground turkey with pan-roasted shiitake, oyster and crimini mushrooms, topped with a fried egg, chili-spiced maple syrup, arugula and mushroom “bacon;”
  • Stephanie Surowiec, West Bloomfield, Mich.: French Bistro Smashburger, ground chuck with crimini mushrooms – precooked with garlic, thyme and sherry – topped with Gruyère cheese and served on brioche buns. 

The competition started with 500 submissions that were pared down to the finalists.

The mushroom category at retail is thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Throughout the summer, shoppers were spending at least 20% more on mushrooms than the same time last year,” according to the release.

A survey conducted by Mark Lang, associated professor of marketing at the University of Tampa, found that 88% of people polled said they will continue to cook with the same amount or more mushrooms “after things get back to normal,” according to the release.

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