The James Beard Foundation, a non-profit organization known for bestowing some of the country’s most coveted cooking awards, is partnering this summer with the Mushroom Council to promote restaurants’ creative uses of mushrooms in burgers. The result is the Better Burger Project, which challenges chefs to create burgers with at least a 25 percent base of mushrooms before July 31. Even though JBF does not require burgers in the contest be vegetarian, they recognize that using vegetables (and, in this case, fungi such as mushrooms) in classic meals make them “more delicious, healthy, and sustainable,” underlining plants as integral elements of the best-tasting and healthiest dishes. JBF also encouraged restaurants to feature “sustainable, plant-based menu items” to “enhance” menus, a statement that could impact fine-dining and casual restaurants across the US.
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