And the 2018 Blended Burger Project™ winners are…

350 restaurants. 250,000 consumer votes. Three prestigious judges. One simple ingredient: finely chopped fresh mushrooms.

The James Beard Foundation announced the five winners in its 4th Annual Blended Burger Project™ competition, which featured chefs from all restaurant categories developing and menuing their take on a mushroom and meat* blended burger.

“We were thrilled at the wide array of creative recipes and types of eateries that took part in this year’s competition,” said Kris Moon, chief operating officer of the James Beard Foundation. “Adding fresh, chopped mushrooms to the burger patty makes the traditional burger much more flavorful and sustainable—a change James Beard Foundation stands behind. We congratulate the winners and are grateful for all restaurants and chefs that took part.”

Launched at the top of the summer (Memorial Day), customers voted for their favorite burgers through the end of July. This month, a panel of judges—Andrew Zimmern, James Beard Award–winning TV personality; Susan Westmoreland, Culinary Director, Good Housekeeping; and Antoinette Bruno, Editor-in-Chief, StarChefs—reviewed the 20 burgers which received the most votes to determine this year’s five winners, who will cook their blended burgers at the historic James Beard House in New York City on October 18.

2018 Blended Burger Project Winning Restaurants:

  • The Bearded Chef, Palm Bay, FL The “Thai My-Shroom” is an umami bomb Thai burger made from Florida-grown Monterey Mushrooms blended with beef and pork; spiked with ginger, lemongrass, cilantro, and bird’s eye chile; with a spicy Thai ketchup, pickled enoki mayo with mushroom-cured egg yolks and smoked maitake bacon on a toasted mushroom dusted brioche.

  • Burgh’ers Restaurant, Pittsburgh, PA The “Fox Chapel” blended burger consists of a 75/25 blend of local grass-fed beef to local roasted mixed mushrooms topped with goat cheese, pickled red onion, avocado, spring mix, and a balsamic glaze.

  • Courtyard Cafe at Raymond James, St. Petersburg, FL “Smokey Mushroom Venison Blended Burger” blends farm-raised New Zealand venison, angus beef and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms—chargrilled, seasoned with Alder-smoked sea salt, cracked pepper, and porcini mushroom powder placed on a sourdough pretzel roll with beet ketchup and topped with melted smoked Tilamook cheddar and wild ramp béarnaise.

  • Curb Side Bistro, Odessa, TX “El Tejano Borracho” (The Drunken Texan) is a 70/30 blend of ground beef and mushrooms, including shiitake, white button, and portabella; topped with pulled pork, tangy barbecue sauce, jalapeño and mushroom corn fritter, cilantro ranch, pickled red onions, and a mushroom white queso cheese sauce all sandwiched between toasted brioche buns.

  • Toltec Brewing, Albuquerque, NM “The Royale” features New Mexico brisket and roasted crimini patty topped with aged white cheddar, Young Guns New Mexico green chile, herb and ancho mayo, applewood bacon, local fried egg, and heirloom tomato on a jalapeño brioche bun.

*Or other protein.