James Beard Foundation Kicks Off Summer with the Better Burger Project™


The James Beard Foundation is kicking off the Better Burger Project™ just in time to heat up the grill. In partnership with the Mushroom Council, JBF is challenging chefs and restaurants nationwide to create a delicious, healthier, and more sustainable hamburger by blending ground meat with finely chopped, cultivated mushrooms. Chefs competing in the Better Burger Project™ will feature their “better burger” on menus from Memorial Day, 2015, through July 31, 2015, and America will vote for their favorites through an Instagram-based social media challenge. 


“As a chef, restaurateur, and chair of the D.C. Food Policy Committee, I’m thrilled to join the Better Burger Project™ in an effort to help educate diners across the country on the many benefits of blended burgers,” said Spike Mendelsohn. “We have an amazing opportunity to highlight how strategic food choices can reduce strain on the environment but also provide a variety of flavors and nutritional benefits. A blended burger... Read more >

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What We're Reading: May 18, 2015


Cool off as the temperatures skyrocket with some homemade ice cream sammies. [Huff Po


Tragedy strikes poultry farmers as a new strain of bird flu infects millions of hens. [NYT


Could high noise levels be to blame for subpar in-flight food? [Munchies


Get a taste of the best of both worlds: coffee in beer. [Bon Appétit


Will Puerto Ri... Read more >

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Expo Milano: James Beard American Restaurant

The USA Pavilion at Expo Milano


No one's ever been hungry at a world's fair: nations have used these gatherings to showcase their cuisines on an international stage, while ice cream cones, waffles, popcorn, and other formerly unknown foods were popularized by enterprising fair vendors.


At Expo Milano 2015, the latest fair, which opened in Milan this month and will continue through October, guests won't just find food at the refreshment stands. Expo Milano is the first fair that's exclusively about food: its theme is “Feeding the Planet; Energy for Life," and participants have been charged with presenting possible solutions for feeding the spiking global population. Visitors to countries' pavilions can attend food-focused lectures, explore interactive exhibits about agriculture and cooking, and admire state-of-art, food-inspired design, such as the JBF-produce... Read more >

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Happy Hour: The Tom O'Connoll


As much as we love our whiskey, recent rising temperatures have us reaching for lighter spirits and refreshing flavor profiles. This variation on a Tom Collins cocktail comes from Breuckelen Distilling, known for their artisanal spirits made from only locally grown grains. The Brooklyn-based craft distillers riffed on the classic recipe by using zesty lime juice and adding an invigorating herbal twist. Get the recipe here.


For more on Breuckelen Distilling and other craft spirit producers in urban locations, click here.

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On the Menu: Week of May 18

Photo by Megan Swann


Here's what's coming up at the James Beard House and around the country:


Monday, May 18, 7:00 P.M.
Dynamic Duo of Food and Drink 
Chef Charleen Badman and wine director Pavle Milic are a powerhouse team: she creates lovely, seasonal menus that draw on local ingredients, and he curates the wine selection, in addition to bottling his own. In their three integrated businesses—restaurant, market, and wine shop—they enthusiastically showcase Arizona’s products, as will this can’t-miss dinner.


Tuesday, May 19, 7:00 P.M.
Buddha's Birthday
Buddhism counts nearly half a billion adherents worldwide who follow Siddhartha Gautama’s teachings. In honor of the sage’s birthday, practicing Buddhist and celebra... Read more >

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Sustainability Matters: May 15, 2015


An Israeli company is developing a sugar substitute that aims to cure our collective sweet tooth. [MUNCHIES]


If history is any indication, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement could have significant consequences on the health and diet of its partner nations. [NPR


Top toques and Silicon Valley will collide at Bite, a new... Read more >

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Ask a Chef: Paul Shoemaker


Trained in the kitchens of the French Laundry, Per Se, and Alain Ducasse, chef Paul Shoemaker brings technique-driven cooking and a Southern California sensibility to Firefly in Los Angeles. On Friday, May 15, he'll bring a taste of his elegant and whimsical fare across the country for a lavish dinner at the Beard House. Below, we've got the scoop on his professional surfing past, what nostalgia tastes like for him, and what inspired his upcoming menu.




What is your inspiration behind the menu for this Beard House event?


At my restaurant Firefly, we use California seasonality as our focal point to make playful dishes that support local purveyors, farmers, and ingredients. My Beard House menu reflects what’s fresh in the spring, combining the agriculture available on the East Coast with the flavors of the West.... Read more >

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Throwback Thursday: Chefs & Champagne®, Then and Now

Photo by Tom Kirkman


Recognize this fresh face behind the focaccia? It's none other than James Beard Award winner Mario Batali, prepping for our annual summer shindig Chefs & Champagne® way back in 1996. Back then, the tasting party and auction took place in August at the Ladies Village Improvement Society in East Hampton, NY. While the date and the venue may have changed, one thing about Chefs & Champagne® has remained constant: a knockout lineup of chefs serving up some of the best of America's culinary offerings. See what's in store for our 2015 fête, honoring Daytime Emmy Award–winning chef and cookbook author Carla Hall.

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What We're Reading: May 14, 2015


From samosa to sambar: an introduction to the regional nuances of Indian cuisine. [Food52


As the temperature climbs, indulge in the simple pleasures of the picnic. [NYT


Even if you’re not confident with your pastry skills, anyone can make a homemade Graham cracker crust. [Sally’s Baking Addiction


Skip the Jello and make your own instant pudding. [... Read more >

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2015 Who’s Who Inductee: Allan Benton



The James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America is a cadre of the most accomplished food and beverage professionals in the country. Though they represent a diverse cross-section of the food and beverage industry—from chefs to journalists to farmers to business executives to scholars—each has been identified by his or her peers as having displayed remarkable talent and achievement. Every member of the Who’s Who has contributed in some substantial way to America’s constantly evolving culinary scene.




The owner of Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, Allan Benton has been described by Saveur magazine as “one of the most respected producers in the United States.” Benton grew up in a family that raised hogs and cured their own count... Read more >

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