Five winning chefs. Four years of the Blended Burger Project. Three prestigious judges. Two simple ingredients: finely chopped fresh mushrooms and meat. One iconic event. On Thursday, October 18, the five winning chefs in the 4th Annual Blended Burger Project™, cooked and served their winning blended burgers at the Blended Burger ‘Bun’anaza event at the historic James Beard House in New York City.
Three hundred and fifty chefs from all restaurant categories, including high-end eateries, casual diners, prominent hotel chains, business operations, universities, and quick service chains, developed their take on a mushroom and meat* blended burger and participated in the summer-long initiative.
From Memorial Day through July 31, customers voted for their favorite burgers and 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.
These five chefs served their winning blended burgers at the James Beard House last week:
- Alejandro Barrientos, 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.
- Brandon Basista, 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.
- Fiore Moletz, 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.
- Justin Robinson, 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.
- David Ruiz, 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.