Archive for the ‘Events’ 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!

2016 JBF Food Conference Opening Reception: Event Recap

The kick off to the 2016 JBF Food Conference was held Sunday, October 16th at the historic James Beard House in New York City.


It was a deluge of Blended Burgers! The opening reception for the James Beard Foundation’s 2016 Food Conference featured the five winners of this year’s Blended Burger Project™ cooking their burgers for attendees.

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The more than 150 reception attendees – including leaders in the healthy and sustainable food movement, elected officials, fellow chefs, and media — feasted on slider versions of each of the chef’s winning recipes. The chefs’ restaurants were the top five recipients of the more than 2 million consumer votes submitted in this year’s competition that featured 350 restaurants menuing their takes on The Blend.


Honored chefs (and their burgers):


Michael and Laurence Gottlieb, The Wood’s Kitchen, Bloomingdale, Ga. served up a Worcestershire-glazed double mushroom burger with charred Vidalia onion on a mushroom-salted brioche bun.


Logan Guleff, Logan’s Underground Supper Club, Memphis, Tenn. presented “The Mushroom Monster”: equal parts portobella mushrooms and ground beef, then seasoned with its own Legends seasoning blend. The burger was topped with fontina cheese, lettuce, tomato and bacon and served with a mini-milkshake.


Toni Elkhouri, Cedar’s Café, Melbourne, Fla. featured 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.


Adrian Cruz, The Orchard Lounge, McAllen, Texas created a shiitake, chorizo and beef blend patty, topped with homemade strawberry fig jam, chipotle aioli, pickled cucumber, butter lettuce, a fried egg, bacon, tomato and string mushrooms.


Eric Kinniburgh and Jon Lemon, Bareburger, New York City (LaGuardia Place location) topped their wild boar and sweet tamari mushroom blended burger with picked red onion, crispy mustard greens and a Sriracha vinaigrette.


2016 Blended Burger Project Winning Chefs (L-R: Laurence Gottlieb, The Wood’s Kitchen; Jon Lemon, Bareburger; Toni Elkhouri, Cedar’s Café; Eric Kinniburgh, Bareburger; Michael Gottlieb, The Wood’s Kitchen; Logan Guleff, Logan’s Underground Supper Club; Adrian Cruz, The Orchard Lounge)

Photo Credit: Kent Miller courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.

Event Recap: Mushroom Festival 2016

Highlights from a mushroom insider: Sonya Beltran of First Generation Farms in Toughkenamon, PA takes us through her highlights of the 31st Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square.


  • To kick-off the 31st annual Mushroom Festival, there was a parade marching down the main street of Kennett Square that started Friday. Since the year 2000, The Mushroom Festival Committee has been able to give out $805,000 in grants to multiple organizations.
  • That evening also marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11. The Mayor of Kennett Square did the honors of singing the National Anthem, while a flag that was raised to be about 3 stories high.
  • When arriving at the Mushroom Festival Saturday afternoon, the very first food item I just had to try was the blended burger. The only location at the festival that was serving these was Buona Foods, Inc. It was beyond delicious and I didn’t even need to put ketchup on it.


  • Following of course the blended burger I went on to the ‘oh so famous fried mushrooms’. Such a tasty ‘filling’ snack.
  • Though at the fried mushroom eating contest, the competitive eaters were hoping to differ. The Fried Mushroom eating contest was 8 minutes long and had over 18 contestants. They gave themselves nicknames such as “Evil Mushroom,” “Vicious Vinny” and the winning contestant was “Termite.” He was able to eat 4 pounds of fried mushrooms.


  • I may not have wanted to see another fried mushroom for the rest of the day, so I moved on to dessert. No way mushrooms are in dessert right? I was mistaken. At the local ice cream shop, La Michoacana, they made mushroom ice cream popsicles. Something I have never come across. Although being at the Mushroom Festival in the Mushroom Capital of the World, how could I not have known that mushroom ice cream was going to be an option?!
  • Not only were there crazy amounts of tents with multiple vendors trying to market their best mushroom meal, there was also a Mushroom Exhibit. In the Exhibit, you were give then step by step format of house a mushroom becomes a mushroom. Not only did they have white mushrooms on location, there were also grey oysters, yellow oysters, shiitake and many more.


  • Okay great, now I know the life of a mushroom, I’ve had fried mushrooms, I know where to get fresh ones, but how do I prep fried mushrooms if I’m feeling like an amateur chef one day?!
  • The Culinary event tent was fantastic. There had so many tutorials on how to prep different meals with mushrooms. The one I was able to sit in was a fried oyster tutorial. The benefits of experimenting with these at home can be much more adventurous than just ordering take-out.


  • I couldn’t walk away from the festival without taking a picture with the iconic mushroom hat. The Mushroom Cap store has anything and everything you need mushroom. The store is a tourists dream when it comes to looking for fresh mushroom retailers, the step by step process of a mushroom, and of course gifts upon gifts to your loved ones (or you).
  • The sun was definitely making an appearance this weekend, but it was better than walking around in the rain. Not only walking though, let’s talk about this kid-friendly mechanical bull that was present as well as a pop-up carnival they fit in a parking lot. The mushroom festival is hands down a family event. There is something for everyone. I am very much looking forward to the 32nd Annual Mushroom Festival!


Event Recap: Denver Burger Battle

The Denver Burger Battle comes down to this: 15 burgers, one night, two winners. The annual event draws more than 1,200 burger fanatics to sample Colorado’s finest burgers and vote for their favorite.

This year, we added a bonus burger to the line-up: a blended burger made with nearly 45% finely chopped cremini mushrooms – a simplified version of Chef Lance Avery’s first place World Food Championship burger.
Denver Burger Battle Booth

While our burger wasn’t an official contestant in the battle, countless attendees proclaimed it was their favorite burger of the night!

Denver Burger Battle Blenditarian

A big thank you to John and Stacy from Johnson & Wales for their amazing culinary support. We’ll be back next year, Denver!