Archive for the ‘Council Representative’ Category

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.

Mushrooms Make School Lunches Delicious

As summer comes to a close and we begin swapping bathing suits and flip-flops for backpacks and pencils, school lunches become top-of-mind. What will your little ones (and big ones) be eating for lunch every day? Council Representative, Kathleen Preis, walks us through all the delicious meat and mushroom blend dishes your kids will be enjoying this school year!


What do Chicken & Mushroom Gravy, Spaghetti & Meatballs with Mushrooms, and Mushroom & Olive Tapenade all have in common? No, they are not the bestselling menu items at a restaurant up the street. They are not dishes that wowed the judges on a national cooking show. In fact, they are menu items that could be served in your kid’s lunchroom this school year!


School Foodservice Directors across the nation are embracing fresh mushrooms and blending them into lunch menus in hundreds of districts across the United States. Hickman Mills School District in Missouri added a Mushroom Taco Salad and Mushroom Spaghetti to their menu and the response from the students was overwhelming! 90% of students surveyed enjoyed the Mushroom Taco Salad and requested it be served again! In New Orleans Public Schools, School Nutrition Director Rosie Jackson added Vegetarian Lasagna and Mushroom & Olive Tapenade to the menu during Mushroom Week. 80% of students at the secondary level preferred the mushroom blended entrees!


The secret to all these delicious tasting and highly requested lunch items is… mushrooms! Blending finely chopped mushrooms in popular ground-meat favorites like burgers, meatballs, tacos, and meatloaf helps to create healthier menu items for school lunch programs. Two years ago Jessica Shelly at Cincinnati Public Schools switched her 100% beef burger to a beef & mushroom blend burger and was delighted by the results. “By switching to the beef burger with mushrooms, my calories and fat went down enough that I could add cheese to the elementary school burgers and offer turkey bacon to high school burgers – when they saw turkey bacon cheese burger as an option my high schoolers went nuts! They loved it!”

Adding mushrooms into classic ground meat dishes not only makes them healthier, it keeps them tasting “familiar” so students are more likely to continue gobbling up their burgers, meatloaf, and tacos without knowing they are better for them! So when your kids come home and tell you how they tried mushrooms at lunch time, don’t be surprised… heck you could even give blending a try it at home!

The Better Burger Project Takes Over Frontier

Food is notorious for bringing people together, so it was no surprise to see so many burger lovers show up when we invited a group of Chicago foodies to Frontier to experience Chef Brian Jupiter’s better burger.

With the “closed for private event” sign hung on the door, Chef Brian Jupiter prepped his staff for the event that was about to take place. In a matter of hours a group of Chicago foodies would be arriving at Frontier to not only try the new Bison Burger (blended with 25% mushrooms), but to live-tweet their #BetterBurgerProject experience during a #FoodieChats Twitter Party.

Frontier #FoodieChat Attendees

As the mushrooms were smoked and the avocados dredged, one by one the foodies started to arrive. It was hard to ignore the phenomenal smells coming from the kitchen as the chef prepared that evenings meal. As the group waited, they casually chatted about The Blend and how the Better Burger Project was such a brilliant idea. “Blending is a great way to give burgers a new healthier life,” explained Alissa Trumbell. “Anything that gets more fruits and vegetables in our diet is an amazing thing,” exclaimed Debbie Donato. It seemed everyone was in agreement that the Better Burger Project was THE next big thing!

Frontier's Better Burger

The moment of truth finally arrived as better burgers paraded out of the kitchen. A meaty mushroom & bison patty was stacked underneath lettuce, pickled green tomato and deep fried avocado; all on a warm pretzel bun. Mouths watered as photos were snapped & Instagrammed. Guests couldn’t believe their tastebuds – the burger was absolutely delicious!

As plates were licked clean, the #FoodieChats Twitter Party started and the group began to share their experience. “After having a bite of the Frontier Better Burger Project Burger I don’t think I can eat a burger without mushrooms blended” tweeted Angela Woody. “I’m having one (a better burger) at Frontier & it’s UH-mazing!” tweeted Soo Park.

Needless to say the night was a completely success; everyone went home with a full belly and ideas on how to get blending at home!