Talking Mushrooms: Chef Case Studies

Talking Mushrooms with Edward Castillo, C.C.C.,Rice University, Houston
Chef Castillo believes mushrooms’ satiating quality is key in his line of work.

“Young adults learn eating habits for the rest of their lives in college, and they often eat too much unhealthy food. With this mushroom dish, my students can have the large portion they desire and feel full, without the empty calories.”


Talking Mushrooms With Robert Mayberry, University of Texas, Austin
With college campuses nationwide moving toward vegetarianism or veganism, Chef Mayberry is challenged to find satisfying ways to meet his students’ needs.

“My students love Latin and Mexican cuisine; but what’s not to love? The hearty portions and spicy flavors are perfect complements to the savory texture of mushrooms in my dish.”


Talking Mushrooms with Frank Bonanno, Luca d’Italia, Denver
Chef Bonanno uses the texture and savoriness of mushrooms to reduce the meat in his Bolognese sauce.

“Using mushrooms to replace a portion of meat in a dish helps me save money and reduce extra calories for my diners.


Talking Mushrooms with Debbie Sharpe, Feast Restaurant + Bar, Chicago
“Mushrooms are a perfect fit for my breakfast and brunch menus. Whether my customers are looking for something light or decadent, mushrooms fill the role while still allowing my customers to leave happy knowing that they’ve just eaten something flavorful, yet good for them. And incorporating mushrooms into Latin dishes is something that both I and my customers love”


Talking Mushrooms with Chef Todd Humphries, Kitchen Door, Napa Valley
Chef Humphries, the unofficial Mushroom King, uses mushrooms as the ideal topping for pizza because “…they add a meaty texture and flavor to meatless fare.”



Talking Mushrooms with Jason Petrie, Revolution Brewing Company, Chicago
For Chef Petrie, mushrooms are a must on his favorite burgers, with the earthiness of the mushroom complementing the flavors of the beef.

“Paired with a good beer, you’ve got the perfect meal to eat at the bar.”

bob-okuraTalking Mushrooms with Executive Chef Bob Okura of The Cheesecake Factory
Bob Okura joined The Cheesecake Factory in 1988 as vice president of culinary development and corporate executive chef. Ever since, he has kept very busy with developing The Cheesecake Factory’s 200 menu items and the three-unit Grand Lux Café’s 150 menu items. Packing both menus with delicious and creative mushroom dishes, Chef Okura is a true mushroom aficionado.

“From a chef’s perspective, mushrooms are a culinary gift, offering more creative potential and versatility than just about any other vegetable. They add flavor, texture, and enhance the overall visual appeal of  whatever food they are paired with. And in doing so, they increase the inherent level of “cravability” of the dish. When done correctly, this can make the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary.”