Archive for the ‘Council Representative’ Category

DC Capital Food Fight Event Recap

Council Representative Kathleen Preis attended the DC Capital Food Fight in November – an event to benefit DC Central Kitchen.

DC Capital Food Fight

More than twelve hundred guests enjoyed dueling chef battles, seventy-five restaurant stations and a Top Chef Mushroom Blend Challenge at last week’s DC Capital Food Fight to benefit DC Central Kitchen. DC Central Kitchen provides nutritious, sustainable meals and culinary job training for needy DC residents while providing award-winning healthy meals for dozens of schools within the Washington, DC school district.

DC Capital Food Fight Chefs Jose Andres and Spike Mendelsohn

Chefs Jose Andres and Spike Mendelsohn reveal mushrooms as one of the secret ingredients.

The DC Capital Food Fight featured four local chefs battling head to head, with just five minutes to prepare a dish incorporating the secret ingredients, green beans, Italian chicken sausage and curried popcorn – all with the hopes of winning the title of Capital Food Fight Champion.

DC Capital Food Fight Chefs Michael and Bryan Voltaggio

Chefs Michael and Bryan Voltaggio blend mushrooms for their blended burgers.

The night wasn’t limited to local chef challenges: Electric hosts Jose Andres and Spike Mendelsohn treated guests to a special battle – featuring notable DC Top Chef alumni Marjorie Meek-Bradley, Michael and Bryan Voltaggio and Mike Isabella – in which chefs had to prepare a blended burger (at least 25% fresh mushrooms blended with beef) in under five minutes. Chefs commented on the blend’s sustainability and meaty properties – a topic very familiar to host Spike Mendelsohn who participated in the inaugural Blended Burger Project in 2015.

DC Capital Food Fight Chefs Duff Goldman and Michael Voltaggio

Chef Duff Goldman enjoys a blended burger, while Chef Michael Voltaggio congratulates all the chefs!

While the chefs enjoyed the friendly competition, guests from the audience bid to join Chefs Duff Goldman, Rusty Hamlin and Michael Voltaggio to judge the Top Chef’s Blended Burger creations. At the end of the night, the judges couldn’t determine a winner between the teams but all were excited about the juiciness and flavor the mushrooms added to the burger. Look out for The Blend in these notable chef’s restaurants in the future!

DC Capital Food Fight Blended Burgers

Among the seventy-five stations available for guests to enjoy, mushrooms were plentiful – from mushroom dumplings and soups, to sandwiches and more. A great time was had by all, with nearly $700,000 raised for DC Central Kitchen. Congrats to all!

Event Recap: Culinary Institute of America’s Inaugural Blended Burger Bash

As a part of the Stars and Stripes Weekend, Culinary Institute of America students battled for the best blended burger on campus!

This summer, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) hosted its first-annual Blended Burger Bash at Hyde Park Campus. Cooking off in front of family, friends and instructors, eleven teams of culinary students battled for the best blended burger.


Each of the eleven teams prepared two unique blended burgers (one consisting of at least 25 percent fresh mushrooms and one freestyle burger), for chefs, instructors and other students to try.


A panel of burger-experts judged the burgers, including CIA alumni Chef Jehangir Mehta, Produce Business writer Mira Slott, mushroom industry representatives from Monterey Mushrooms, Joe and Karen Caldwell, as well as several instructors and dietitians from the Culinary Institute.


Burgers were judged on overall flavor, appearance, creativity and adherence to the Menus of Change principals. The Menus of Change principals, developed by CIA, encourage chefs to re-think how they source ingredients and meal preparation for more nutritious, sustainable, responsible and delicious menus.


At the end of the bash, Team “Bob’s Burgers” came out triumphant with their winning “Ooooh! Mami Burger” blended burger (a 50/50 mushroom-beef blend featuring crimini, maitake and shiitake mushrooms blended with ground beef and topped with caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, arugula and white truffle oil), as well as their freestyle burger: “Silence of the Lambs” (a mushroom-lamb blended burger with yogurt, lemon zest, garlic and mint). In addition to claiming bragging rights for winning the best blended burgers on campus and a $1,000 cash prize for each burger, the students’ winning blended burger recipes will also be featured in the campus dining grill menu!


2016 Blended Burger Bash Teams and Burgers:

Team #1: The Fungi Fun Guys – Showmanship Winners
Kimberly Camara, Kala Singleton, Aaron Tarpley, Gabi Rodriguez
Blended Burger: Meatloaf on A Bun- meatloaf style burger with vegetable tater tots
Freestyle: Jackfruit of All Trades Banh-Mi- pork burger with cauliflower fried rice

Team #2: International Pit Masters – 3rd Place Freestyle Winners
Judith Lanza, Dan Fehnel, Andrew Fares, Frank Guido, Luis Cordero
Blended Burger: Korean BBQ Burger- Korean style burger with kimchi slaw
Freestyle- Jamaican Jerk Burger with Jalapeno, apple and kale slaw

Team #3: Tomodachi Squad
Blended Burger: Oh Shiitake Wafu Burger- Asian style burger with vegetable fries
Freestyle: Oat-Kare-Sama Burger- Vegan burger with curry and oat

Team #4: Fresh Meat
Blended Burger: Guiness Burger with vegetable skewers
Freestyle: Seoul Burger- Asian style burger with kimchi

Team #5: Burgers of Change – 2nd Place Free Style Winners
Marisa Klomp, Zach Moquin, Cody Fitchett
Blended Burger: Hard Apple Burger- Apple Cider burger with cauliflower side
Freestyle: Lamb burger with goat cheese

Team #6: New Asian Burger – 3rd Place Blended Winners
Sangjun Yoon, Nathaniel Wandell, Bongjung Ko
Blended: Dduck-Galbi Burger- Korean style burger with soy sauce marinade and side salad
Freestyle- Dou-Ban-Jiang Burger- Chinese style burger of lamb and tofu with fermented bean sauce

Team #7: Burger Bleus
Blended: Crime Beef- Burger with bleu cheese and apple, with vegetable fries
Freestyle: Bad Morels- Veal burger with pepper bowls

Team #8: Miso Hangry – People’s Choice and 2nd Place Blended Winners
Benjamin Huss, Alex Ye, Alan Meckdala, Kyle LeBlanc
Blended: Sake Sake- Asian style burger with wonton and pepper salad
Freestyle: Nam Nam- Asian style pork burger with wakame Asian salad

Team #9: Bob’s Burgers (The Belchers) – 1st Place Blended and 1st Place Freestyle Winners
Isabella Fiattarone, Cesar Cazares, Ann Molyn So, Travis Zissu
Blended: Ooh Mami- Burger with bleu cheese and fried enoki garnish
Freestyle: Silence of the Lambs – Lamb burger with yogurt, lemon zest, garlic and mint

Team #10: The Tea Party
Blended: The Damned Yankee- burger with smoked apple chutney, and sriracha aioli
Freestyle: La Frita Cubana- Pork Chorizo burger with sweet sriracha and tropical slaw side

Team #11: The Beefy Boyz
Blended: South of the Border- Veggie and Beef burger with avocado, pepper jack and Jack Daniels reduction
Freestyle: Veal burger with caramelized onions, chipotle garlic aioli and grilled veggie kebabs

More About CIA and The Blend:
The introduction of the Blended Burger Bash is only one of the Culinary Institute’s commitments to The Blend, which was incubated and supported by the Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative – an educational initiative of high-volume culinary leaders developed by the Culinary Institute of America in partnership with The Council. The Culinary Institute believes that The Blend is a perfect example of the innovative and strategic culinary insights that are emerging to address the substantial health and environmental imperatives that face the foodservice industry and consumers in general. The Culinary Institute perceives this groundbreaking development as an opportunity to change the way Americans eat.

The Blend Wins at The World Food Championships

These days you can’t turn on a TV without seeing some type of cooking competition. But what happens when you win first place in the world’s largest food competition, The Annual World Food Championships? Chef Lance Avery’s “Chew Before You Inhale Burger” took home top honors, and it was all because of The Blend!

After several regional competitions Chef Lance Avery, of Big Fork Brands, was invited to compete in the opening round of the burger competition at the annual World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida on Friday, November 7th. “My mind was purely focused on execution. Do this, do that. Don’t forget about that in the oven, don’t forget to stir this… It’s basically compete organized chaos the whole time you’re cooking,” comments Avery, whose blended burger won that first round with a near perfect score of 98.75. In fact, it was not only the highest scoring burger that day, but the highest scoring dish at the entire competition.

Chef Lance Avery at the The Annual World Food Championships

Lance’s burger featured butter sautéed royal trumpet mushrooms and portabella powder with 21-day dry aged ground ribeye; a flavor combination to powerful to ignore. “Blending our burger with the buttered, sautéed royal trumpet mushrooms was absolutely the secret to our winning burger. The royal trumpet mushrooms added savory umami and moisture that blended seamlessly with the ground ribeye kicking the patty’s flavor up to another level.”

Due to his first place finish Chef Lance was invited to participate in the Kansas City Steak Co. High Steaks Invitational, which pitted high scorers from the championship’s nine categories against each other. His steak dish —a beef tenderloin with sautéed royal trumpet & beech mushrooms, bacon jam, and stilton blue cheese— took first place. “During the awards they started calling folks up to the stage starting with 10th place. Once they hit 4th, I just assumed we were out. I texted my wife, who was cheering for us from Chicago, saying we were done. When they called us up as 1st place I was speechless; in total disbelief. The biggest shock in my life, hands down!”

Chef Lance Avery at the The Annual World Food Championships

The World Food Championships is the largest competition in food sport, where champions of previous events convene in Kissimmee, Florida, for a chance at winning the ultimate food crown and a share of $300,000. Chef Lance says this isn’t his last competition and he fully intends to keep entering his blended burgers into competitions like “Bacon Fest” in Las Vegas. As for tips to make it to the top, “there’s no perfect formula for winning, that’s for sure. The person who won the last two World Food Championships got bumped out of the first round this year. All you can do is have a solid team, have a solid game plan, and execute to the best of your ability. Also, read the rules 15 times!”

Chef Lance Avery Chew Before You Inhale Blend Burger

Chew Before You Inhale Burger

84% 21 day aged ribeye
15% royal trumpet mushrooms, minced raw, cooked in butter and salt added to taste
1% portabella powder

2 strips crispy Berkwood bacon
5 chanterelles, sliced in half, cooked in butter
heirloom tomato, sliced thick
Single year aged cheddar cheese

Poblano Smashed Avocado Sauce:
1 poblanos, roasted, peeled, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
3 avocados, smashed

Lobster Mushroom Aioli Sauce:
1/2 cup lobster mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mayo

Garnish – Fried Pickle:
2 cup predust (fine ground cracker meal)
2 cups wet batter
2 cups Japanese Breadcrumb

1. Combine beef with butter cooked mushrooms and powder and make into patties.
2. Cook bacon in oven.
3. Make Poblano Smashed Avocado Sauce & the Lobster Mushroom Aioli Sauce.
4. Slice tomato.
5. Butter bun and toast on the grill.
6. Sauté chanterelle mushrooms until soft.
7. Cook burger on flat top to rare.
8. Smoke burger in sealable container for 8-10 minutes.
9. Assemble burger.

5 Reasons Why Your Meals are Better with The Blend

As support for The Blend continues to grow (The Culinary Trust called The Blend “the future of food”, and over 200 chefs menued The Blend this past summer), Council Representative, Kathleen Preis, thought it might be time to tell you why The Blend makes your meals better and is a trend you don’t want to miss!

It’s never been easier to enjoy healthier versions of your favorite ground meat recipes without sacrificing a thing. How you ask? The answer is simple: The Blend. Chop fresh mushrooms to match the texture of ground meat, and use them in place of some of the meat in your recipe. It’s easy!

But why add mushrooms to meals you already know and love? To make them better! That’s right, The Blend makes your meals better. Better flavour, texture, and nutrition, these are just some of the reasons why The Blend makes sense.

this Mushroom, Blue Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Burger by Billy Parisi

1. Flavor

Mushrooms deliver a savory, earthy taste because of their umami, making them the perfect addition to any dish. In fact, a sensory study conducted by The Culinary Institute of America and University of California found that most people prefer the flavor, texture, spice levels and saltiness of The Blend over the 100% beef option. Simply put, it tastes better! Try this Mushroom, Blue Cheese, and Caramelized Onion Burger; the flavors are phenomenal!

Blended Lamb Ragout

2. Texture

Finely chop mushrooms to match the texture of ground meat, combine your ingredients, and you get a seamless blend that improves texture, juiciness and taste. Try this Lamb Ragout; the mushrooms match the texture of the ground lamb so well you wouldn’t even know they were included!

Blended Turkey Meatloaf

3. Nutrition

Research suggests substituting mushrooms for lean ground beef in an entrée just once every week would save you almost 20,000 calories in one year. The Blend adds more nutrients to the plate like vitamin D, potassium (8%),B-vitamins, and antioxidants, so your meals are better for you. Try this Turkey Meatloaf; adding mushrooms can cut the calories per serving by almost 35%.


4. Price

The Blend adds bulk and volume allowing you to generate more servings and extend portions, making your dollar go further. Did someone say leftovers? Try this Blended Chili & Macaroni; the extra-large batch is not only filling for your family, but easy on the pocketbook.

Blended Taco Salad

5. The Possibilities!

Burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, tacos, lasagna, pasta sauce… the possibilities for The Blend are endless, which means more meals to please you and your family!

Notre Dame Mushroom Mania Burger Bash was a Hit with Students

The first ever “Burger Bash” kicked off on September 8th at the University of Notre Dame. Council Representatives, Katie Preis and Steve Solomon, were there to not only bring the “Burger Bash” to life by talking with students and educating them on the many benefits of mushrooms, they also handed out t-shirts and created excitement around the three burgers being served.

The festivities, taking place in the North Cafeteria on Tuesday and the South Cafeteria on Wednesday, engaged students with a variety of mushroom related activities. Council Representatives quizzed students on their knowledge of mushrooms and were awarded with free Mushroom Mania t-shirts, while Chef Lance Avery ran a simple sauté station, sampling a variety of cultivated mushrooms. The “Burger Bash” dinner service offered three delicious burgers; Jehangir Mehta’s Graffiti Burger, a Malai Chicken Mushroom Burger, and a Salmon Mushroom Burger. Students were so enthusiastic about trying the new menu features that The Salmon Mushroom Burger sold out both nights!


Students also had the chance to meet celebrity Chef Jehangir Mehta while he demoed The Blend and prepared Graffiti Burgers. He kept students engaged in the learning process by inviting them to jump on the grill to assist.


The celebrations ended with a special “invite only” four course meal, prepared by Chef Jehangir Mehta for a select group of student-leaders and foodservice staff. From appetizers to desserts, the lucky bunch savored a variety of mushroom dishes; Mushroom Scallop Ceviche; Lemongrass Black Cod, Shitake, Black Trumpet Dashi; Duck Breast over Zucchini & Enoki Noodles; and an Umami Chocolate Panna Cotta, Maple Bacon Crisp.


Thousands of students enjoyed The Blend at The University of Notre Dame’s “Burger Bash” event, learning more about the growing process and cooking with mushrooms.