Meet the Five Winning Restaurants in the James Beard Foundation’s 2017 Blended Burger Project™

414 Restaurants from 45 States Menued Meat + Mushroom Blended Burgers, Winners Will Cook at James Beard House

Five restaurants have received top honors in the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project™, which challenged chefs to make their burgers more delicious, nutritious and sustainable by blending chopped mushrooms with meat.

From Memorial Day through July 31, 414 restaurants* in 45 states menued their own take on the blended burger in the third annual competition, encouraging patrons to vote online for their favorite. More than 400,000 consumer votes were cast, and the five restaurants that earned the most will be cooking their burgers at the historic James Beard House in New York City in early 2018.


“The Blended Burger Project is a phenomenal opportunity for chefs to make their dishes more plant forward and for patrons to discover how their favorite foods can be made healthier and more sustainably, simply by substituting 25-50 percent of the burger’s protein with mushrooms. Chains, diners, white table cloth bistros, upscale eateries in the heart of cities, the suburbs and small towns developd thoughtful and creative blended burgers. We congratulate and appreciate all those who took part.” – Kristopher Moon, Vice President, James Beard Foundation


Bareburger, New York City, NY

Bareburger, New York City, NY – The Porchetta Burger is a 50/50 mushroom and wild boar blend, topped with a black-garlic aioli, broccoli rabe, oven-roasted tomatoes, aged provolone cheese on a ciabatta bun.

The Bistro at Topsail, Surf City, NC

The Bistro at Topsail, Surf City, NC – The Goomba Burger, local grass-fed Mills Family Farm beef blended with confit oyster and portobella mushrooms, topped with havarti, shiitake “bacon,” lemongrass aioli, heirloom tomato, baby arugula on a house baked bun.

Cedar’s Café, Melbourne, FL

Cedar’s Café, Melbourne, FL – Brevard’s Taste of Summer Burger is a blend of mushrooms and lamb on an apricot and liquid smoke glazed bun, sour cherry mustard, basil, brie cheese, and a herb lemon caper walnut relish.

Houston Yacht Club, La Porte, TX

Houston Yacht Club, La Porte, TX – The Greeklish Burger consists of a beef chuck, cremini mushroom, and caper patty on a brioche bun and basil aioli with feta melted over the patty, topped with a mini greek salad and paprika oil.

VINTAGE Kitchen, Norfolk, VA

VINTAGE Kitchen, Norfolk, VA – The Backyard Burger, grass-fed beef blended with confit oyster mushrooms, aged double cheddar and cracklin’, charred ramp mayo, bacon rust, cab franc molasses, crispy hayman potato straws, coffee salt, demi-pain perdu, and brown butter mornay, cooked in a cast iron skillet.


Get the full story, download the Official Press Release: Meet the Five Winning Restaurants in the James Beard Foundation’s 2017 Blended Burger Project™

Mushrooms Alongside Culinary Fight Club Winning Dish

Culinary Fight Club (CFC) has gone from being an underground industry secret to one heck of a big deal, with sponsors such as Reinhart Foodservice, Samuel Adams, Smithfield Foods, and Hard Rock Cafe to name a few. CFC is hosted in 17 cities across the country and anyone from home cooks to Executive Chefs can compete.

Chicago Event Fight Clubbers experienced the category, “Pork – more than just bacon,” on March 22.

Where: The Chop Shop
What was cooked: Pork
Who cooked:

  • Chef Lance Avery, Big Fork Brands (two-time CFC champion)
  • Chef George Phelps, ChiliRocks Chili
  • Chef Tony Balestreri, Kimski
  • Chef Ross Johnson, Carriage Greens Country Club
  • Matthew Morin, Beer director for Chef Rick Bayless’ restaurants

The Judges:

  • Chef Michael Fiddler, Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations
  • Chef Dylan Lipe, The Budlong Hot Chicken
  • Alex Shebar, Yelp Chicago Community Director

The Winner:

“I called it Pork & Mushrooms.  It was really an incredible dish, beat out 4 other chefs. It was a simple Asian inspired noodle dish with pork belly and mushrooms basically.”
– Lance Avery, Big Fork Brands, two-time Culinary Fight Club champion


Pork & Mushrooms

Servings: 6 – 8


Pork & Mushroom Consommé
4 pints water, cold
1 lb. ground lean pork
6 egg whites
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch herbs, chopped
1 bunch oyster mushrooms, chopped
1 bunch maitaki mushrooms, chopped
1 bunch shiitake mushrooms, chopped
2 links Big Fork Bacon Sausage, chopped

Pork Belly & Mushrooms
1 lb. pork belly, cut into medium dice
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 onion, quartered
1 bunch herbs, whole
1 bunch oyster mushrooms, whole
1 bunch crimini mushrooms, whole
1 bunch trumpet mushrooms, whole
2 links Big Fork Bacon Sausage, chopped

Sautéed Mushrooms
Remaining mushrooms, chopped

Udon Noodles
Green onions, sliced thin


Pork & Mushroom Consommé
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and stir until water mixes with the ingredients. Over medium heat cook until it comes to a simmer. Reduce to a slight simmer and continue to cook for 45 minutes. Strain with a strainer and cheesecloth. Season with salt.

Pork Belly & Mushrooms
Season pork belly with salt and pepper. Add all ingredients to a pressure cooker and cook for 30 minutes. Release pressure.

Strain liquid from mushrooms and meat, reserve. Chop Mushrooms. Sear 3/4 of the pork belly in a hot cast iron skillet. Portion out rest of pork belly to use with Noodles.

Sautéed Mushrooms
Sauté any remaining mushrooms with oil and salt. Cook until soft. Reserve.

Udon Noodles
Boil the udon noodles in salted water for 4 minutes. Strain. Toss noodles into reserved pork belly liquid. Toss in unseared pork belly, seared pork belly, mushrooms (both sautéed and pressure cooked, and fresh green onions. Serve warm.

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