Archive for the ‘#BetterBurgerProject’ Category

Chef Spotlight: Michael Gottlieb, Wood’s Kitchen

Meet Michael Gottlieb, co-chef at Wood’s Kitchen in Bloomingdale, GA and one of five winners of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project. He is a part of our Chef Spotlight series, which offers a behind-the-kitchen look at the inspiration behind chef-created blended burgers.

spotlight-headshot-michael-gottlieb

Born into a food family that’s been operating in Georgia since 1870, Chef Michael Gottlieb and his brother, Laurence Gottlieb are co-chefs at Wood’s Kitchen, a southern-rooted BBQ restaurant with Gullah and Cajun/Creole inspirations.

His motivation for participating in this year’s James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project? “It was an opportunity to bring something a little healthier to our menu and educate our customers how eating a touch healthier can still be fun!” They had a great experience right out if the gate and really loved how their community supported them and their blended burger from start to finish.

Their blended burger is a mouth-watering Worcestershire Glazed Double Mushroom Burger with Charred Vidalia Onions served on a Mushroom Salted Brioche Bun. The burger uses Hunter Cattle “Wood’s Blend” ground beef, a rich earthy local beef, and cremini mushrooms.

Michael and his brother enjoy cooking with mushrooms given the flavor and textures differ from variety to variety. “We love cooking with chanterelle, morels, and Hen of the Woods – but they are all so good it’s hard to pick a favorite.”

chef-spotlight-michael-gottlieb

Chef Spotlight: Adrian Cruz, The Orchard Lounge

Meet Chef Adrian Cruz, one of five winners of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project. He is the third in a series of Chef Spotlights, which offer a behind-the-kitchen look at the inspiration behind chef-created blended burgers.

Chef-Adrian-Cruz-Orchard-Lounge-Spotlight (002)

“The Concha Burger is the new kid on the block,” says Chef de Cuisine Adrian Cruz of The Orchard Lounge in McAllen, Texas.

New kid on the block, indeed. What makes Cruz’s blended burger so unique? Aside from its delicious toppings like homemade strawberry-fig jam and Applewood bacon, the burger is sandwiched between a Concha bun – a sweet yeast bread roll that can be found in many Mexican markets. As a child, Cruz spent summers at his grandparents’ house in Texas, and would purchase Concha every morning from a bakery truck that was parked across the street. Sharing Concha with his mom and brother over a steaming cup of coffee is one of Cruz’s favorite childhood memories.

Inspired to mimic the sweet and savory flavor profile of Concha dipped in coffee, Cruz decided to experiment with the idea of using Concha as the bun for his blended burger – and it was a hit. For the burger, he uses a blend of beef, pork chorizo and shiitake mushrooms, then tops it with the strawberry-fig jam, chipotle aioli, pickled cucumber, butter lettuce, a duck-fat fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes and string mushrooms. What intrigued Cruz most about joining the Blended Burger Project? The opportunity to create a healthier burger with some of his favorite ingredients. He loves the flavor and texture that mushrooms bring to a traditional patty.

“Participating in James Beard’s Blended Burger Project isn’t about becoming famous, it’s about inspiring other chefs and proving that dreams do come true,” says Cruz. He grew up cooking in his mother’s kitchen at the age of 12, and has honed his skills while training at various restaurants in the Rio Grande Valley. Cruz is excited to show off his chops at the James Beard House this October, or has he calls it, “painting on plates.”

Chef-Spotlight-Adrian-Cruz (002)

Chef Spotlight: Logan Guleff, Junior Chef/Logan’s Underground Supper Club

Meet Chef Logan Guleff, Junior Chef/Logan’s Underground Supper Club and one of five winners of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project. He is the first in a series of Chef Spotlights, which offer a behind-the-kitchen look at the inspiration behind chef-created blended burgers.

Chef-Logan-Guleff

Memphis-based Junior Chef Logan Guleff has been cooking since he was two. His favorite recipe is always the next one he creates because he enjoys the journey of being creative and getting to share his dishes with others. He loves mushrooms (in fact, when he was two his favorite food was mushroom pizza!), so when he learned about the James Beard Blended Burger Project, participating was a no brainer. “Being a premier young chef comes with a lot of responsibility. I want to be on the forefront of sustainable, healthy, nutritious food. I live in an urban city and I see food deserts and hunger. Being able to produce a delicious burger that both delights diners and helps turn a burger into a meal we can continue to enjoy for generations is very important to me,” said Guleff. “Plus, it’s James Beard! How could I not join in on the fun?”

Logan’s signature blended burger, “The Mushroom Monster,” consists of half portobello mushrooms and half locally-sourced ground beef. After cleaning the mushrooms, he then cooks the mushrooms until they are dry, which allows him to trim the beef by 50 percent. He uses his spice blend “Logan’s Rub” to marry the flavors and tops it off with fontina cheese, lettuce, tomato, and bacon.

Fun Fact: Logan is the youngest certified judge to judge in The World Championship Barbeque. One of his recipes has been served at the White House, where he met the First Lady and President Obama.

chef-logan-guleff-underground-spotlight

Chef Spotlight: Chef Toni Elkhouri of Cedar’s Café

Meet Chef Toni Elkhouri of Cedar’s Café, one of five winners of the 2016 James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project. She is the first in a series of Chef Spotlights, which offer a behind-the-kitchen look at the inspiration behind chef-created blended burgers.

Chef-Toni-Elkhouri-Cedars-Cafe-Spotlight

“Food is not just something that keeps us alive, it literally encompasses our lives and memories.” This phrase is something that Chef Toni Elkhouri of Cedar’s Café lives by as she works everyday to keep her local community’s taste buds happy with her Lebanese cuisine.

Elkhouri co-owns her restaurant with her mom, Marlene Elkhouri, which they started more than 14 years ago. Their dishes are a mix of traditional Lebanese and “hodge-podge” Progressive-Mediterranean creations, which she develops largely based on preferred flavor profiles of her customers. She loves cooking with fresh ingredients and inventing new experiences for guests, so participating (not to mention being one of the five winners!) in this year’s James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project was a no brainer. For her, this win was one for her community, and she loved how her friends, family and customers came together to show how far the town of Melbourne, Florida has come in the culinary world.

Her winning blended burger? Ground beef blended with portobella, shiitake and cremini mushrooms, topped with pomegranate ketchup, banana pepper curry mustard, tahini remoulade, balsamic onion, goat cheese, bacon, spinach and avocado. Prior to the contest, she and her staff taste tested burgers from several nearby restaurants, making note of their favorite aspects of each burger. After putting their heads together, they reimagined the traditional hamburger and created a blended burger that her guests fell in love with. Shortly after its debut, she had lines of people eager to try it – some patrons coming in almost every single day to enjoy her blended burger. In the end, their 30 seat (48 if you count outside seating) restaurant made over 2,000 burgers in the 2 months.

Fun fact: Her favorite mushroom is Hen of the Woods (or Maitake). She loves this variety for its almost nutty flavor. For her, with a nice sauté it’s perfect atop hummus with pine nuts.

Recipe Handout Chef-Toni-Elkhouri-Cedar-Cafe-Spotlight

Chef-Toni-Elkhouri-Cedar-Cafe-Spotlight-Recipe

 

#BetterBurgerProject: Quaff ON! Better Burger

Quaff ON! Bloomington Tap House, a Better Burger Project winner,  is part of the Big Woods and Quaff ON! family, established to showcase the beers brewed by Quaff ON! Brewing Company.

QuaffON Bloomington's Better Burgers

Why  did Quaff ON! join the Better Burger Project? Chef Dan Nichols says, “After reading about the Better Burger Project, the idea of creating a blended burger intrigued me, so I started testing various recipes. Being in the top five throughout the project came as a surprise to me. Having the opportunity to go to the James Beard House and prepare food will have a profound impact on me as a chef.”

QuaffON! Bloomington's Better Burger Winning Recipe

Quaff ON! Better Burger:

For The Blend
50% sirloin; 25% chuck; 25% short rib
Crimini mushroom duxelle
Porcini mushroom powder
Roasted green chiles
Pimentos

Garnishes:
Triple cream brie
Caramelized Spanish onion
Beer mustard
Demi glace
Baby arugula
Vine ripened tomato
Brioche bun