James Beard Foundation Kicks Off Summer with Better Burgers

Burger season just got better. The James Beard Foundation (JBF) 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.

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Better Burger Project™ will challenge chefs across the nation to include mushroom-blended burgers on ...

Better Burger Project™ will challenge chefs across the nation to include mushroom-blended burgers on their menus. (Photo: Business Wire)

“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 is the perfect example of how a small change can make a significant impact on our food system.”

Diners across America can help their favorite chef win a chance to prepare their “better burger” at the official welcome reception for the annual JBF Food Conference this October at the historic James Beard House in New York City. The theme for this year’s conference will focus on the Future of Food.

To vote, diners across the United States can:

  • Visit participating restaurants and order the “better burger”(see participating restaurants here)
  • Post a photo of the burger on Instagram
  • Use the hashtag #betterburgerproject and the handle of the restaurant and/or the chef who created the burger
  • Share what’s better about the burger in the caption

Why Meat + Mushrooms?

Over the last five years, through its Impact Programs, JBF has become more involved in the conversation around health and sustainability in our food system. These initiatives include the annual JBF Food Conference, which explores timely subjects with top researchers, food entrepreneurs, farmers, biologists, activists, chefs, and other professionals; the Leadership Awards, which has recognized visionaries creating a more healthful, sustainable, and safe food world since 2011; 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.

Highlighting the health and sustainability of mushrooms through the Better Burger Project™ is a perfect complement to the Impact Programs’ values. The Blend allows chefs to create burgers that are better for their guests and the environment at large. Blending meat with mushrooms reduces calories, fat, and sodium while adding important nutrients like vitamin D, potassium, and B vitamins. A blended burger also brings more sustainable, plant-based items to menus allowing Americans to enjoy the taste and flavor of the burgers they love, knowing it’s a healthier and more sustainable preparation.

“Burgers are an iconic American food, particularly for summer grilling, so we are eager to host the Better Burger Project™ and explore how blending meat with mushrooms can create new versions of burgers that are healthier and more sustainable,” said Kris Moon, senior director strategy and development of the James Beard Foundation. “An exciting part of the future of food is creating better-for-you versions of beloved foods. The Better Burger Project is a great example of how we can work with chefs to make these healthier options a reality.”

For more information, a list of participating chefs and restaurants, and to learn how to get involved, visit BetterBurgerProject.org and follow #betterburgerproject on Twitter and Instagram.


For the James Beard Foundation
Maggie Beaudouin, 212-255-8455
Social: #betterburgerproject

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