Why This Chef Chooses Blended Burgers

Blended burgers: chefs love them, diners love them, home cooks love them! Whether it’s the craveable umami flavor, the extra juiceness or the added nutritional and sustainability benefits, there’s a reason the trend is to blend.

For Robert Repp, executive chef at Hops at 84 East and a winner of the 2019 Blended Burger Project®, he was initially drawn to the blended burger concept because of the sustainability aspect.

Chef Repp explained that he “jumped at the chance to make [burgers] more sustainable in any way, whether that be using only local beef or by blending it with mushrooms.” His team at Hops at 84 East, located in Holland, Mich., began experimenting with various mushroom/meat blends when they first heard about the James Beard Blended Burger Project in 2018.

“We discovered that not only does blending the beef with mushrooms cut down on our beef usage, but it also leads to a more flavorful and juicy burger.”

And so the award-winning Trumpet Burger was born!

The burger features a 70:30 blend of local brisket and Pebble Creek trumpet mushrooms, topped with house bacon, Roelli Red Rock cheddar blue, gochujang pickled wild foraged ramps, arugula and duck fat mayo on a house sesame seed bun. 

So, what do Hops at 84 East customers think of the Trumpet Burger? Chef Repp explained that the burger has been a hit since debuting on the menu two years ago, including being a top-selling menu item for the restaurant. “People love it,” to put it simply. “Customers have come from all over to try it, and not one of them has left disappointed.”

Since entering the contest in 2019, Chef Repp admitted he’s become “a bit of a mushroom nerd” and has incorporated that passion into the menu by using mushrooms in a handful of applications beyond the blended burger.

Chefs, feeling inspired to create a blended burger of your own? Enter this year’s Blended Burger Contest for a chance to win $10K! 

Home cooks, we’ve got a category (and a $10K prize) for you too! 

Head on over to Food Network to learn more and enter:

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