Q&A: Buffalo is Rising Above and Beyond the Call of Duty | Part 1

Nickel City Chef, owned by Christa Glennie Seychew, a passionate Buffalonian and advocate for independent restaurants and family farms, has asked thirteen of the Buffalo’s most talented chefs to create their take on a blended burger as part of the Blended Burger Project™!

To further promote these independent restaurants, Nickel City Chef is also running their own promotions by also encouraging consumers to share their pictures on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter using the #BuffaloBBP hastag. One local burger eater, who has shared their burger, on social media using hashtag will receive four VIP tickets to 2018’s Nickel City Chef 10th Season Celebration, a $500 value.

What makes these chefs/restaurants unique?

Christa and her team at Nickel City Chef, have been working effortlessly to promote these great restaurants and chefs. “Each of our participating restaurants are independents and the bulk of them are chef-owned. The other common denominator is that, in most cases, they’ve also participated in Nickel City Chef, a Buffalo-area culinary competition series approaching its 10th season.”

Why did you want to participate in the Blended Burger Project™

Mike Andrzejewski, Seabar

James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project is an exciting way to challenge ourselves to be creative and think outside the norm.” — Mike Andrzejewski, Seabar

Scott Crombie, Billy Club

Participating in James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project allows me to help raise awareness for sustainable practices within kitchens and promotes Buffalo as a creative and driven culinary destination.” —Scott Crombie, Billy Club

Michael Dimmer, Marble + Rye

Burgers are one of the things we’re known for at Marble + Rye. We’re also known for utilizing as many local ingredients as we can get our hands on, and with that comes the ever-increasing importance of sustainability. Realizing the impact this project could have on not just overall health of our country, but also the dramatic drop in beef production and consumption made the Blended Burger Project an easy cause to get behind. We sell hundreds of burgers per week; it’s our stronghold. I love that this idea pushed me to think about something I know so well in such a different way. Also, Buffalo. REPRESENT!” — Michael Dimmer, Marble + Rye

Dino DeBell, Allen Burger Venture

At Allen Burger Venture, we are very passionate about the art of the hamburger and take an honest approach toward offering burgers prepared at the highest level of our capability.” — Dino DeBell, Allen Burger Venture

Are these burgers something you could see as a permanent menu item/do you see your self adding additional blended items to your menu?

Steven Gedra, The Black Sheep

I would definitely run a blended burger in the future, but I’m not sure I’d do this one in particular. I did this burger as a personal project to grow my knowledge while also making something delicious. Plus, I don’t like to repeat dishes. Once they’ve run their course, I usually just let them lie.” – Steven Gedra, The Black Sheep

Andrew Murtha, JuiCy Burger Bar

Yes, but a simpler version. The length of time it takes to cure the lardo is an issue for us, as is the gnocchi prep if we sell out during service. But I actually love the flavor here; I’d like to keep it around in some capacity.” – Andrew Murtha, JuiCy Burger Bar

Will Peterson, Lait Cru Brasserie

I love the idea of the blended burger and will be adding more mushroom and meat blends to my menu. It’s a great way to add flavor and cut fat. The use of local mushroom growers is a great way to show off the amazing products to the public.” – Will Peterson, Lait Cru Brasserie

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An Buffalo Shoulder, Dreadlock Pasta // JuiCy Burger Bar

Bison and smoked mushroom blended burger with fried gnocchi ropes, pickled ramp aioli, first light creamery chèvre, and parsley gremolata.

Ingredients:

The Blend
Ground Lardo, 25% fat ratio
Smoked oyster mushrooms, 25% ratio by volume

Gnocchi
4 Idaho potatoes
2 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cup flour, plus more for dusting

Sauce
1/2 cup pickled ramp bulbs
1 Tbsp honey
2 egg yolk
1 lemon, juice and zest
Grapeseed Oil

Goat cheese
Pickled ramp aoli
Parsley leaves
Lettuces of choice
Half of a Lemon

Directions:

The Blend: Chop mushrooms in a food processor. Blend meat and mushrooms and form into 7oz. patty. Sear the patty in butter.

Begin to toast the bun at the same time. Upon flipping the burger, add a layer of goat cheese and allow it time to melt.

Gnocchi: Line a half sheet tray with salt, this will keep the skin of your potatoes from burning and eliminate that flavor from this preparation. Prick the potatoes with a fork, ensuring that water will be evaporated from the potatoes, increasing their flavor and creating a better consistency in the gnocchi. Just as the potatoes are finished, remove them from the oven. Working quickly, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove their flesh into a large bowl fitted with a food mill. Mill the potatoes, taking care not to mash them, or smash them…. keep them fluffy. Add a layer of cheese. This will help insulate and temper the egg. Lightly create a well with your fingers. Add the egg, and temper into the cheese and potatoes. Now work the mixture smooth with a one handed knead. Add the flour to the bowl through a tamis, and begin to knead the dough lightly. If the dough feels wet, and sticks to your fingers, add more flour. The faster you work the better. Set the dough aside and lightly dust with flour. Cover with a cloth and let sit ten minutes. Using a dough knife, cut sections of the gnocchi, and roll it into very thin ropes. Roll the ropes “up” your surface, to a floured area above your workspace. Cut the ropes in 5-6in. sections. Set on a tray lined with parchment and plenty of flour.

Drop the gnocchi ropes in the fryer, and season with fresh cracked pepper, light salt, and parmesan IMMEDIATELY.
Rest the meat for 3-5 minutes on a cooling tray. Dress the bun with the aioli, toss the parsley leaves and greens with olive oil and lemon juice and place on the bottom of the bun. Top with the patty.

Add the ropes, and plate as if they were dreadlocks. Top with the bun and serve.

Sauce: Drain the pickled ramps of their vinegar and reserve for another preparation later. Place them in the food processor with the egg yolks, and lemon juice and run until frothy (let the proteins emulsify with the acid). Slowly drizzle in oil to create the desired consistency.

Add the honey during the last moments. Taste and adjust flavor with zest (before salt), salt, and if needed, lemon juice.

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Dino DeBell // Allen Burger Venture
175 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14201
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Parma Prosciutto
Parma prosciutto-wrapped Blended Burger of dry-aged grass-fed Angus and mushroom duxelles with urbani black truffle cream cheese and arugula.

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Scott Crombie // Billy Club
228 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14201
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The Classic Western New Yorker
House-ground dehydrated oyster and fresh crimini Blended Burger with house-pulled Worcestershire cheddar curd, bacon, farm greens, and heirloom tomato on a costanzo roll.

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Andrew Murtha // JuiCy Burger Bar
1 Buffalo Street, Hamburg, NY 14075
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Buffalo Shoulder, Dreadlock Pasta
Bison and smoked mushroom Blended Burger with fried gnocchi ropes, pickled ramp aioli, first light creamery chèvre, and parsley gremolata.

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Will Peterson // Lait Cru Brasserie
346 Connecticut Street, Buffalo, NY 14213
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Lait Cru Burger
Ground lamb and crimini Blended Burger with fenugreek creme fraiche, drunken goat cheese, and mushroom salad.

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Michael Dimmer // Marble + Rye
112 Genesee Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
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Burg’ on ‘Weck
House-ground Short Rib, Brisket, Chuck, Bone Marrow, and Local Oyster Mushroom Blended Burger with Horseradish Cream, Shallot Jam, and Local Raclette on a Housemade Kummelweck Roll

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Mike Andrzejewski // Seabar
475 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203
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Mushroom Moco
Blended Burger of ground sirloin, bacon and braised shiitake with fried rice, sweet soy gravy, fried farm eggs, and green onion.

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Steven Gedra // The Black Sheep
367 Connecticut Street, Buffalo, NY 14213
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The King Ghidorah
King oyster mushroom and koji-inoculated chuck sirloin Blended Burger with ramp kimchi, mushroom ketchup, kewpie mayo, and house-made American cheese on a squid ink sweet potato bun.

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