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The Trend is to Blend

For the past several years, chefs have faced increasing pressure to serve healthier meals and become more sustainable with their menus. Achieving nutrition, sustainability, and flavor is a core value of America’s food system and a major tenant of the James Beard Foundation and our Impact Programs. 

The Blend, which combines meat* and mushrooms in the same patty, does just that by providing chefs a delicious opportunity to meet diners’ changing tastes. 

A simple concept with the power to make a difference, The Blend in recent years has placed atop numerous food trend lists. The World Resource Institute named it a “power” food that should be on every burger menu. The Blend was conceived and incubated by chefs at Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative (HMC), an educational initiative of high-volume culinary leaders developed by the Culinary Institute of America in partnership with its founding member, the Mushroom Council. The Blend concept is an example of the innovative and strategic culinary insights that are used to address the substantial health and environmental imperatives that face the foodservice industry. Read more about “The Blend” and “The Protein Flip” here.

This year marks the fourth annual Blended Burger Project™, in which chefs across the nation, including those who already menu some of the best burgers around, have the opportunity to work with the James Beard Foundation and show guests how great taste, better nutrition, and increased sustainability can come together to improve the quality of the food they eat.


How to Make Burgers Better with The Blend:


About the James Beard Foundation and Blended Burger Project™ Partnership

Over the last seven years, through our Impact Programs, JBF has become more involved in the conversations around health and sustainability in our food system. These programs and initiatives include the annual JBF Food Summit, where JBF explores timely subjects with top researchers, food entrepreneurs, farmers, biologists, activists, chefs, and other professionals; the yearly Leadership Awards, which recognize visionaries creating a more healthful, sustainable, and safe food world; and the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, which provides a unique opportunity for civically and politically minded chefs to become more effective leaders for food-system change.

This year JBF is pleased to once again partner with the Mushroom Council to host the Blended Burger Project™, which encourages chefs to create a healthier, more sustainable, and tastier burger that can be enjoyed by consumers across the country, while also educating diners about the many benefits of The Blend and the future of food. *(Or other protein, see Official Contest Rules for details.)


The Blend Makes Burgers Better

Here’s why chefs are choosing to join this movement of blending finely chopped, umami-rich mushrooms with ground meat in burgers and propelling the global food revolution forward:

  • “Sustainability and health are two very important things to me as a chef. Adding mushrooms to the ground meat will add freshness, make my guests rethink about vegetables in a different way, and think about how we can make recipes healthier.” —Raenel Stelly, Rae’s Cuisine
  • “Our guests are very health conscious, sustainability-minded, and active.” —Fiore Moletz, Burgh’ers
  • “The blended patty—marketed as #theblend on the menu—now generates 10 to 15% of weekly revenue.” —"Betting on the Blend,” Restaurant Business, Nov. 2017
  • “Mushrooms are such a versatile ingredient and can go a long way in terms of adding flavor and texture. I’m excited to show our guests just how delicious blended burgers can be!” —Troy Guard, Tag Burger Bar
  • “Truthfully, this project lined up with our philosophy. We are always looking for ways to provide healthier options without sacrificing taste or experience. Sourcing sustainable products is also a must for us. The more we can educate our local community, the better. The question really was, 'why not do this?'” —Eric Damidot, Vitascope Hall
  • “Shortly after the debut of our blended burger, we had lines of people eager to try it—some patrons coming in almost every single day. In the end, our little 30 seat (48 if you count outside) restaurant made over 2,000 burgers in two months! Selling 600 blended burgers during our burger bash week alone, all while still offering our regular menu.” —Toni Elkhouri, Cedar’s Café 

To learn more about mushrooms, visit To learn more about The Blend, visit

The Blended Burger Project™ is supported by: