Belly Acres’ Chef Rob Ray says “I wanted to participate because it has ties with the way I cook and view food. The Better Burger Project was different, it was healthy, and like other practices, it is a step in the right direction to make a difference in the way people view their food.
At Belly Acres we are proud of what we do and always try to offer a better option for families: healthy, sustainable, fresh! From our free range chicken to our 100% grass fed, grass finished beef, to our local produce ~ we are proud of our products, proud of our farmers for all they do, and we are proud to be apart of the Better Burger Project!
To me, this win is an honor like no other! For years I have been keeping up with the James Beard Foundation and the chefs that have been apart of it. Always being amazed with the impact the foundation has on the culinary world, I have merely imagined how great it would be to cook at THE James Beard House, now it’s really happening! Honestly, I would have never guessed I would be going due to a Burger! DOUBLE WIN!”
Belly Acres Better Burger
4lbs. Chopped Button Mushrooms
1. Cook mushrooms with a 1 tablespoon of Olive oil till tender.
2. Strain mushrooms and cool
3. Mix well with beef and form into patties
4. Season with salt and pepper before cooking
Ginger Lime Mayo
3c. Dukes Mayo
3T. Soy Sauce
4T Ginger (minced)
1/2c. Lime Juice
1/2t. Red Pepper Flakes
1. Mix all ingredients, Refrigerate for 12 hours before serving.
Pickled Summer Squash
2qt. Sliced Summer Squash
2c. White Vinegar
6t. Sea Salt
1t. Celery Seed
1t. Mustard Seed
1/2t. Red Pepper Flakes
1/2t. Whole Black Pepper
1. Pack quart jars with sliced squash.
2. Mix water, vinegar and salt together
3. Distribute spices into the jars
4. Fill with the mixed brine.
5. Refrigerate for 1-2 days before serving.
While Chef Rob always uses farm fresh ingredients, sustainable ingredients are just as important to him. Before opening Belly Acres as a managing partner and executive chef, his culinary background consisted only of fine dining. Chef Rob considers his first venture out of the elite food scene a piece of cake. The way he describes his approach when creating Belly Acres’ menu: “Make it different, keep it simple, always know where ingredients are coming from, and don’t sacrifice quality, ever.”
Opened late last year in the Overton Square Entertainment District in Historic Midtown Memphis, Belly Acres was created for the customer, always looking out for their health, happiness, and to offer the best family friendly environment possible. Chef Rob went local with as much as possible. He says “I did that with the mind state of if we go to New York to cook this burger we will take a piece of Tennessee and Mississippi with us! I did a lot of pondering and testing with this burger- and with starting multiple weeks after the start of the competition…it was a quick creation!
I wanted to keep the calorie count down a lot with total fat and keep the health benefits high. Notice there is no cheese on our burger, and as we all know you have to make it just right if you aren’t adding cheese! Some “out there” flavors went into this burger: southern pickling, fire roasted peppers, then mix an Asian Mother Sauce (soy lime) with ginger and turning it all into an aioli? With a mushroom blended beef patty?…what?? I wasn’t sure if they would even work together at first but with trial and error came our Better Mushroom State of Mind Burger!”