( Courtesy James Beard Foundation )

The James Beard Foundation is bringing back the Blended Burger Project for the fifth year, promoting diced mushrooms as an add-in to ground meat/protein patties.

The national competition asks restaurant chefs to create innovative burgers using at least 25% finely chopped mushrooms in the protein mix.

The competition launches Memorial Day, May 27, and continues through July. Patrons vote at participating restaurants, and the top 25 vote recipients’ burgers are judged by a panel that selects the top five, based on creativity, flavor and presentation, according to a news release.

“The blended burger is a great example of how plant-forward dishes can not only be sustainable, but also incredibly craveable,” Katherine Miller, vice president of impact for the foundation, said in the release. “We are excited for the Blended Burger Project competition to achieve this five-year milestone – and we look forward to discovering and sampling the creative entries from participating restaurants.”

Winners receive $5,000 and a trip to New York City to serve their burgers at the James Beard House.

“We seek creative takes on the iconic burger, while our guests want to be served food that lines up with their health-conscious, sustainability-minded and active lifestyles,” 2018 winner Fiore Moletz of Burgh’ers in Pittsburgh, said in the release. “We call our burger #theblend, and it now generates 10-15% of weekly revenue.”

Registration is on the James Beard Foundation’s website, along with more information on the annual competition.

 
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