A weeklong mushroom-centric campaign called Mushroomapalooza kicked off this past Monday at the University of Southern California. Council Representative, Brittany Stager, was there to help educate students on the many health benefits of mushrooms, as well as take in some of the delicious mushroom items menued on campus during the week.
Interest piqued as the fresh mushrooms display was set up at Cafe 84 on the University of Southern California campus. A wide array of fresh, local and cultivated mushrooms were put on display at the cafeterias sauté station to celebrate the launch of Mushroomapalooza; a week long mushroom promotion hosted by seven campus restaurants and the Mushroom Council.
Students waited patiently at Cafe 84’s sauté station for their fill of simple sautéed mushrooms; a medley that consisted of shittake, crimini, maitake, and beech mushrooms. Mushroom pizza, risotto, salad, and soup were just some of the mouth-watering mushroom filled items that made an appearance on the cafeteria’s menu for the week.
Cafe 84, along with several other campus restaurants including McKay’s, The Lab Gastropub, Morton Fig, Lemonade, Seeds, and Traditions celebrated Mushroomapalooza by serving up fresh mushrooms all week long. Students enjoyed everything from a simple mushroom & spinach crepe served at Seeds, to crispy tempura oyster mushroom at USC’s pub, Traditions.
The students weren’t the only ones excited by the appearance of mushrooms, USC chefs showed some excitement too; “I love what you can do with all the different varieties of mushrooms. But it was important that we didn’t over think the mushroom menu at The Lab. I wanted to create dishes that were unique but still familiar – soup, flatbread, pot pie, tacos, these are all familiar pub dishes,” says Chef Joe Ledesma, who was thrilled to take part in the festivities. Chef Mikery Hatfield, Executive Chef at McKay’s, also had a great time coming up with their mushroom menu, “there are so many ways to menu mushrooms, but I wanted to really feature one new dish every day.”
Mid-week the students were invited to experience two more mushroom centric dishes, Chicken & Mushroom Vietnamese Spring Rolls and Smoked Shiitake, Kale, & Spelt Salad, prepared by Chef Eric Ernest and Chef Lance Avery at the USC Weekly Farmer’s Market. Beyond the free samples, students were eager to win a Mushroomapalooza commemorative t-shirt, taking part in USC’s “Shirts for Selfies” contest.
The Mushroom Council was proud to take part in this campaign; educating students on the many benefits of mushrooms and allowing them to experience their true versatility in all the dishes served across campus.