UM Dining Sets Sights on James Beard Award for Burger

September 21, 2017

UM Dining’s grassfed beef and mushroom burger MISSOULA – UM Dining at the University of Montana is turning the tables on the classic all-American burger by revealing the secret to its popular recipe: mushrooms and a carefully seasoned blend of grass-fed, grass-finished beef from Yellowstone Grassfed Beef. Now, that blend is up for a culinary award from the James Beard Foundation.

For three summers running, chefs nationwide have reimagined the classic American burger via JBF’s Blended Burger Project, a competition that challenges chefs to blend mushrooms with meat for a more delicious, nutritious and sustainable meal. For the first time, JBF is bringing the competition to campuses across the nation this fall.

Besides the benefit of offering healthier burger options, chefs around the globe have found that including ingredients like mushrooms and leafy greens can actually enhance flavor and juiciness. Developing blended burgers and other plant-forward menu options supports UM Dining’s commitment to sustainable practices.

UM Dining is a member of Menus of Change, an initiative from the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a founding member of the Menus of Change University Research Council. By continuing to introduce new plant-forward options in its restaurants and dining hall, UM Dining hopes that students, faculty, staff and guests will enjoy the delicious, nutritious (though occasionally indulgent) food served at the University.

The blended burger is available at the Food Zoo and Corner Store in the Lommasson Center and at 406 Grill in the University Center Food Court.

The James Beard Foundation is a national nonprofit based in New York City, named for the late James Beard, a cookbook author, teacher and champion of American cuisine. Today, the foundation celebrates chefs and other food leaders who make America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone.

To vote for UM Dining’s blended burger, visit Voters will be entered to win a $1,000 on-campus dining gift certificate or a $100 VISA gift card. The competition is open through December.

Contact: Sam Belanger, UM Dining director of marketing, 406-243-5089,