As our population grows, people are starting to came up with more ways to make life sustainable. That’s the idea behind the nationwide contest sponsored by The James Beard Foundation. They have invited local favorite, Crave Real Burgers, to compete against a handful of chefs from selected restaurants to create a ‘blended’ burger that promotes leaving a healthy and tasty ecological footprint.
“It really is a genius idea from the Mushroom Council,” says Jeff Richard, Head Chef at Crave, about the contest. “It was a way to cut down on beef and its production.” By asking that a burger pattie be blended with mushrooms, the trickle down effect promotes using less water and land to raise cattle for beef.
Similar to a gourmet french dip, their new Drunken Mushroom Burger is a delicious mix that also fits the conservationist bill. The hearty, 6 oz. burger is made from 75 percent Colorado Proud Beef and 25 percent mushroom. And that’s when the fun begins.
“The tempura-fried, Crimini mushrooms on this burger really set it apart and provide a satisfying crunch with a deep, earthy flavor,” comments Richard. An addition to the menu at all four locations that has pleasantly surprised Richard by the response of the community.
“This is selling like crazy,” he smiles. “Just at the Castle Rock location, we are selling around 40 per day.” Because customers’ taste buds are taking notice of the flavors that have been carefully crafted for the entree. Knowing that mushrooms are not always the topping of choice, the concoction that makes for a finished burger creates an ‘umami’ type flavor; a Japanese description for something with a ’savory taste.’
“There is a lot of preperation that goes into making this burger,” remarks Richard. “From start to finish it takes about an hour.” Sautéing the mushrooms to give them crunch and making the truffle mayonnaise-accompanied by homemade au ju sauce for dipping-cannot be rushed.
While he is pleased with the the popularity of the new menu inductee, he would like to see the burger help put our Town, and Crave, on the map for gourmet burgers. He wants to call more residents and visitors to try the burger and vote online to advance their lead.
“If we can get people to try the burger and vote, we can be recognized nationally” Richard says. “We want to win and show the rest of the country what Colorado is made of!”
**The new burger is available now at all four Crave Real Burgers locations until July 31.**
Locals are encouraged to try the burger and cast an online vote for the Drunken Mushroom Burger here bit.ly/VoteForCrave. Diners can vote one every 24 hours and by posting their burger photos to social media with the hashtag #blendedbugerproject to spread the word!
About Crave Real Burgers
Crave Real Burgers was started July 4, 2010 by Jeff and Jeryn Richard. Crave is a hip, new-age diner serving one-of-a-kind gourmet burgers, salads, sandwiches and milkshakes all made by hand with high quality ingredients. Jeff Richard is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America; he and Jeryn have been successful restaurateurs for more than 20 years. In addition to Crave Real Burgers, they also own the popular Old Stone Church restaurant in Castle Rock. Crave Real Burgers now has four locations, and opened a new location in Denver’s LoDo district in 2015. Please visit www.craverealburgers.com
About the James Beard Foundation (JBF)
Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, and scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org. Get food news, recipes, and more at the James Beard Foundation’s blog. Follow the James Beard Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.