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James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project™

Attention fans of ground meat, mushrooms, and social media: the James Beard Foundation’s (JBF) Blended Burger Project™ is underway, and your participation could win you an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City or tickets to the 10th season of Nickel City Chef.

The Blended Burger Project™ is a nationwide contest that challenges restaurant chefs and chef-owners to make a delicious burger using a meat patty cut with at least 25% finely chopped fresh mushrooms. The premise of the challenge is that less animal protein equates to a somewhat healthier and more sustainable but no less satisfying burger.

Buffalo has a strong showing in the contest, with entries from 13 local restaurants, including Allen Burger Venture, Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant, Billy Club, Black Iron Bystro, Black Sheep, Casa Azul, Craving, the Grange Community Kitchen, JuiCy Burger Bar, Lloyd Taco Factory, Marble + Rye, Oliver’s, and Seabar. Each of the participating restaurants has created a different specialty blended burger that will be available to the public through July 31, 2017.

That’s where you come in. Western New York diners are encouraged to taste as many local blended burgers as possible and then vote for their favorite on the JBF website. (Find your favorite by restaurant name using the provided search field.) When the contest ends, the five chefs nationwide with the most online votes will be invited to showcase their blended burgers at an exclusive event at the James Beard House in New York City in 2018. Meanwhile, your vote on the JBF website will earn you a chance to win a trip for two to the blended burger event as a spectator, courtesy of the JBF.

One local winner of tickets to the 2018 season of Nickel City Chef will also be selected from among those who post photos of their favorite Buffalo-area blended burgers to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram. Just be sure to use the hashtags #blendedburgerproject and #BuffaloBBP to be considered for the prize.

Descriptions and photos of all 13 local blended burger entries are available on the Nickel City Chef website and below. You have two months to get your mouth around as many of these monsters as possible, so plan accordingly!

Mike Andrzejewski / Seabar
Burger Name: Mushroom Moco

Blended Burger of Ground Sirloin, Bacon, and Braised Shiitake with Fried Rice, Sweet Soy Gravy, Fried Farm Eggs, and Green Onion

Photo (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Scott Crombie / Billy Club
Burger Name: The Classic Western New Yorker

House-Ground Dehydrated Flat #12 Oyster and Fresh Crimini Blended Burger with House-Pulled Worcestershire Cheddar Curd, Bacon, Farm Greens, and Heirloom Tomato on a Costanzo Roll

Dino DeBell / Allen Burger Venture
Burger Name: Parma Prosciutto

Parma Prosciutto-Wrapped Blended Burger of Dry-Aged Grass-Fed Angus and Mushroom Duxelles with Urbani Black Truffle Cream Cheese and Arugula

Michael Dimmer / Marble + Rye
Burger Name: 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

Chris Dorsaneo / Lloyd Taco Factory
Burger name: Burger Al Pastor

House-Ground Pork Butt, Portabella, and Oyster Mushroom Blended Burger, Guajillo Achiote Sauce, Fresh Pineapple, White Onion, Cilantro, Avocado Crema, and Nixtamalized Fried Tortilla Strips

Steven Gedra / The Black Sheep
Burger Name: 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

Adam Goetz / Craving
Burger Name: Mushroom Mornay Burger

Blended Burger of House-Butchered Erba Verde Grass-Fed Beef and Smoked Crimini Duxelles with Mushroom Confit Aioli, and Gruyere Mornay on a House-Made Caramelized Onion and Shiitake Brioche Bun

Andrew Murtha / JuiCy Burger Bar
Burger Name: Buffalo Shoulder, Dreadlock Pasta

Bison, T-Meadow Farm Lardo, and Smoked Flat #12 Mushroom Blended Burger with Fried Gnocchi Ropes, Pickled Ramp Aioli, First Light Creamery Chèvre, and Parsley Gremolata

Victor Parra Gonzalez / Casa Azul

Burger Name: Casa Azul Burger

Beef, Bone Marrow, Flat #12 Mushroom Blended Burger, Oaxaca Cheese, Huitlacoche, and Onion on a Worm Salt Brioche Bun

Bryan Mecozzi / Black Iron Bystro
Burger Name: Crimini Kefta Burger

Ground Sirloin, Crimini, and Herb Blended Burger with Tahini Labneh and Lemony Pickles on a Brioche Roll

Brian Mietus / Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant
Burger Name: Wellington Burger

Steak and Mushroom Blended Burger with Seared Foie Gras, Tomato Bacon Jam, First Light Chèvre, and Spinach Garlic Aioli on a House-Made Sweet Potato Bun

Brad Rowell / The Grange Community Kitchen
Burger name: The Future Burger 3000

Brisket and House-Smoked Weiss Farm Shiitake Blended Burger with Aged Cheddar, Caramelized Onions, and Horseradish Whole Grain Mustard Aioli on a House-Made Sesame Potato Bun

Ross Warhol / Oliver’s
Burger Name: Blue Collard Worker

Beef, Pork, and Mushroom Blended Burger with Maple Bourbon Blueberry Compote, Pancetta, Roasted Collard Greens, and Cheesy Onions on Toad-in-the Hole Texas Toast

Written by Caitlin Hartney

Caitlin Hartney

Caitlin has covered local food and drink for Buffalo Rising since 2015, having previously written for Artvoice, the Public, and the Buffalo News. She works full time in marketing communications and is earning her master's degree in history at University at Buffalo, the latter of which occasionally informs her writing. Most importantly, she likes the word "moist" and doesn't care who knows it. How else do you describe a great piece of cake?

View All Articles by Caitlin Hartney
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