Introducing the Blended Burger Project™ Campus Edition

A contest open exclusively to chefs at U.S. colleges and universities

college cafeteria

From The James Beard Foundation.

Blending meat and mushrooms in burgers and other iconic foods is a major trend heralded by a number of trend-setters and publications such as FoodService Director, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, WebMD, SyscoShape, “The TODAY Show,” Food & Wine, USA Today and more. As many know, that trend was started by college and university chefs and dining directors because they could make burgers better (as well as meatballs, tacos and meatloaf) by blending at least 25% finely chopped or diced mushrooms in with meat. These operators knew that “the blend” was better tasting, better for the environment, better nutritionally and better for holding, because of the juicier texture. 

In return for being pioneers and trend-setters, the James Beard Foundation has created The Blended Burger Project™ exclusively for colleges and universities (BBPU). Similar to JBF’s Blended Burger Project™ for all chefs, regardless of segment or business, this movement asks operators to develop their version of a blended burger using at least 25% mushrooms blended in with ground meat for burgers, merchandise it to guests and encourage them to vote for their burger on jamesbeard.org/bbpcampus

What’s different is that BBPU is open only to colleges and universities. The contest will kick off on Labor Day and run through Dec. 15. Those universities that have the most votes in their category (by size), will be invited by the James Beard Foundation to cook at the historic James Beard House in the week before Earth Day 2018. It’s an incredible opportunity that most college and university chefs usually don’t get—to showcase their talents and their university in front of media and food influencers at the James Beard House. 

And why shouldn’t college and university chefs have this opportunity?  

  • Colleges and universities were among the first to adopt the blend to build more sustainable menus and satisfy their students. This segment has been a leader in sustainable food practices for many years and has pioneered countless innovations on campus.
  • There is great culinary work happening on college campuses across the nation—many featuring creative burgers and burger builds on dining hall menus. Now, the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project™ can acknowledge the work, creativity and sustainability these campuses have to offer. 

The Blended Burger Project is one of the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs; hundreds of C&U chefs, Top Chefs, Iron Chefs, hotels, chains, food trucks, fast-casual burger concepts and more participated. With the popularity of burgers, these chefs understand that, with so many burgers served, it’s the perfect opportunity to make a significant difference—for the health of your students/guests, the health of the planet and the overall flavor of your burgers.  And most of the participants have kept their blended burgers since it is the perfect way to enhance an existing platform and to bring more sustainable practices to your menu. 

Blending meat and mushrooms together was a concept born at the Culinary Institute of America and made popular by chefs around the country because of the James Beard Foundation. The Blended Burger Project™ Campus Edition is supported by FoodService Director magazine, which was one of the first to identify this trend. Winners will also have feature articles developed around their entire foodservice approach by FSD.

Not often, if ever, do C&U chefs have the opportunity to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. But with all the talent, the culinary prowess, the trend-setting and the focus on sustainability by this segment, there is no reason they shouldn’t. The Blended Burger Project™ Campus Edition offers up that opportunity to six talented chefs.

More From FoodService Director

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

Industry News & Opinion

Panera Bread Co. announced today that it intends to buy the Au Bon Pain brand as a way of opening more bakery-cafes in colleges, healthcare facilities, office buildings, travel centers and malls.

Au Bon Pain, which was Panera’s sole business under an earlier incarnation of the company, consists of 304 bakery-cafes. Several units are located in noncommercial venues.

Panera owns or holds the franchise rights to about 2,050 restaurants, few of which are located outside of strip malls.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Immediately after the deal was...

FSD Resources