NEW YORK – Four years ago, the James Beard Foundation launched the Blended Burger Project, an initiative that challenged chefs across the country to create burgers using a blend of finely chopped mushrooms and ground beef. Now, the Foundation is taking “the blend” from the chef’s kitchen to the home kitchen through a partnership with meal kit maker, Blue Apron.
Blue Apron chefs and the James Beard Foundation collaborated on a blended burger to celebrate and honor the Blended Burger Project. Customers can order the burger the week of July 9 for shipment the week of July 16. The blend features ground beef and cremini mushrooms topped with roasted onions and a creamy mustard sauce with marinated cabbage on the side. The kit contains information on mushroom varieties and cooking tips, along with the recipe and pre-portioned ingredients needed to prepare the burger.
“We are excited to create a new dimension for the Blended Burger Project by collaborating with Blue Apron chefs for a blended burger its customers can try at home,” said Kris Moon, COO, James Beard Foundation. “While Blue Apron’s burger isn't an official entry in the competition, this delectable dish is sure to inspire its customers to not only blend at home, but also visit participating Blended Burger Project restaurants nationwide.”
The concept for “the blend” emerged from a study published in the Journal of Food Science by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and the Univ. of California, Davis. The institutions found that blending finely chopped mushrooms and ground meat together enhanced the flavor of the meat while reducing sodium and adding nutrients such as vitamin D, potassium, B-vitamins and antioxidants.
The Blended Burger competition is open to chefs across the United States with the only stipulation being that the blend contains at least 25 percent mushrooms. The burger is then featured on the menu from Memorial Day through July 31. To date, more than 1,000 restaurants have participated in the project since its launch in 2015, and diners have placed more than two million votes for their favorite burgers.
“Mushrooms are a brilliant way to pack even more flavor into the quintessential burger,” said Christine Fu, senior director of partnerships, Blue Apron. “We’re thrilled to participate in the Blended Burger Project and bring the blended burger trend to more home kitchens around the country this month, encouraging our customers to explore a unique new way to use mushrooms.”