The James Beard Foundation announced five winners in its fifth annual Blended Burger Project.
The contest nabbed the interest of almost 500 restaurants in all 50 states and 402,000 consumer votes, according to the foundation’s news release. From Memorial Day through July 31, restaurants served their own renditions of a blended burger and encouraged diners to cast votes online for their favorites.
“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,” Kris Moon, James Beard Foundation chief operating officer, said in the release.
The 25 restaurants with the highest votes were reviewed by a judging panel: Chris Morocco, Bon Appétit magazine’s senior food editor; David Stample, celebrity chef and philanthropist; and Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest, butchers and cofounders of J&E SmallGoods.
The judges narrowed it down to five winners:
- Burger Shack, Lahaina, Hawaii: The Maui Ono Mushroom Burger is a 70/30 grass-fed Maui beef and Kiawe-smoked king ali’I’ mushroom patty on a toasted brioche bun with watercress, pickled hon shimeji mushrooms, red onion, carrot salad, Bel Paese cheese and kimchee ketchup.
- Hops at 84 East, Holland, Mich.: The Trumpet Burger is 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, Fla.: The Viva Ybor! Burger consists of 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 Cuban bread.
- Pompano Grill, Cocoa Beach, Fla: The Psychedelic Phish Burger features a blended patty of Florida-caught cobia, Scottish salmon and roasted crimini mushrooms, hoisin sauce, ginger and garlic. The patty is coated with 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, Ala.: The Blended Burger features 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 can cook their blended burgers at the historic James Beard House in New York City on Oct. 23. Winners will also take home $5,000 each.
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