Archive for the ‘Contests’ Category

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.


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 fore-front 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 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.


“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



And the #BetterBurgerProject Winners Are…

The burgers have been served, the plates have been cleared, and the ‘grams have been counted.

After more than two months of the Better Burger Project™, a challenge that invited chefs to create a more healthy, delicious, and sustainable burger by blending ground meat with finely chopped cultivated mushrooms, we’re excited to reveal our five winners.


The chefs whose burgers appeared in the most Instagram photos, uploaded by their customers, emerged victorious. Our winning chefs are:

1.  Quaff ON!, chef Dan Nichols – Bloomington, IN
2.  Blue Southern Comfort Food, chef Carolyn Manning – Shreveport, LA
3.  Belly Acres, chef Rob Ray – Memphis, TN
4.  Bachi Burger, chef Lorin Watada – Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Pasadena, CA
5.  Burgh’ers Restaurant, chefs Kiel Campbell and Fiore Moletz – Harmony, PA

In October, these chefs will travel to New York City, where they will serve their “Better Burgers” at the official welcome reception of the 2015 JBF Food Conference, taking place Sunday, October 18, at the historic James Beard House.

“This year’s conference will look at the future of food through three lenses: the farm, the kitchen. and health,” says JBF’s Kris Moon. “In keeping with the future-focused theme, the Better Burger Project was an inventive contest that challenged the culinary community to create new versions of an American standard, working toward a better tomorrow for food lovers nationwide.”

For more information on the winners, visit You can find Better Burgers by all participating chefs by searching for #betterburgerproject on Instagram.

The View Gets a Peek at The Better Burger Project’s Secret Ingredient

The Better Burger Project is red hot and heating up the summer! Council Representative, Maneet Chauhan, spent the afternoon on-set at The View talking to Whoopie, Raven-Symone, Rosie and Nicolle about how to make a better burger this summer using a secret ingredient…


You could feel the excitement in the studio as all the audience members put on their “Better Burger Project” aprons. Soft whispers could be heard throughout the live audience; “oh this is going to be yummy,” “what is that amazing smell?” and “what is the Better Burger Project?” Little did they know celebrity chef Manueet Chauhan was on hand to answer their questions!


As The View ladies gathered around the table, Maneet took her seat next to Michelle Collins. Chatting quietly amongst themselves before going live, Raven leaned in to tell Maneet that she’s a huge fan and actually learned a lot about cooking from her. It’s amazing when a celebrity is star-struck by another celebrity! At that moment the lights brightened, the music started, and Whoopie welcomed Maneet, asking her to share the Better Burger Project’s mysterious secret ingredient… MUSHROOMS!

Of course we couldn’t let our audience members go home empty handed… Maneet graciously offered up food processors for all, encouraging them to try making a blended burger at home!

The Better Burger Project is currently running in over 200 restaurants nationwide, so check the participant list on and get out there a try a better burger!

Lighten Up American Classics with The Blend

As a crisp chill makes its way into the air, weekends are now abuzz with the seasonal overlap of sports such as Baseball and Football. Whether you’re cheering on your alma mater, or making the most of baseball playoff games, meaty All-American foods pair perfectly with your game-day spread. And it’s no secret that mushrooms and meat go hand in hand!

Showcasing the best way to include mushrooms in meals, Culinary Institute of America chef, Bill Briwa, and Mushroom Council president, Bart Minor take a closer look at using blending to boost the flavor of timeless American classics:

Beyond extending portion sizes and ramping up the nutrition in your favorite recipes, blending ground meat with mushrooms’ meaty, umami-rich flavor takes any meal to the next level! From a comfortable bowl of chili to a saucy sloppy joe, with a season of sports in full-force, we’re thrilled to share our favorite healthy takes on foods as American as apple pie:

  • Mushroom Chipotle Chili – seasoned to perfection, this blended chili’s lighter flavor makes it a perfect base for all the fixin’s.
  • Inside Out Mushroom Burger – filled with mushrooms from the inside out, this blended patty packs a powerful punch!
  • Sloppy Joes – combine ground beef and mushrooms to get a lighter take on this childhood favorite
  • Mushroom Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy – double the mushrooms for double the taste! With meaty mushrooms topping and blended throughout, this meatloaf is sure to shine

Do you have a blended recipe that makes your whole family cheer? Submit your favorite blended recipe to our #ShroomTember contest hosted with Life of Dad for a chance to win $500! And don’t forget to join our #ShroomTember Twitter Party on September 23 for a chance to snag even more great prizes.