SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly is competing this fall for the honored distinction of having the most popular campus blended hamburger in the nation, and voters will have the chance to win $1,000.

The Blended Burger Project: Campus Edition is a new, innovative program by the James Beard Foundation that allows college campuses to submit their own version of the “The Blend,” a burger made with a mixture of mushroom and any ground meat of the chef’s choosing. The burger will be judged on three criteria: taste, health and sustainability. The winner is determined by online voting.

“This is a fun project that allows us the opportunity to show off our culinary chops and at the same time introduce something exciting, delicious and healthy to the campus community,” said Campus Dining Executive Chef Ken Kline. “It’s not every day that we have the opportunity to rally the community to help us win a burger competition.”

This is the inaugural year for the Campus Edition of the Blended Burger Project. Voting is open to anyone and participants can vote once a day at through Dec. 15. Participants who vote are entered to win a $1,000 on-campus gift certificate or $100 VISA gift card.

For Cal Poly’s entry, Kline uses a fusion of 75 percent buffalo burger with 25 percent portabella mushrooms and a mixture of fresh sage. He tops it off with agave caramelized onions, arugula, Havarti cheese and fresh sliced tomatoes in between an Edna Bakery whole wheat bun with oats and sesame seeds. The sustainably sourced buffalo is higher in protein and lower in fat than beef.

The Blended Burger Project: Campus Edition inspires chefs to take a popular menu item on college campuses and make it healthier and more sustainable. Mushrooms are the prime ingredient for this competition in order to maintain the same texture and flavor while adding more nutritional value.

The Mushroom Buffalo Burger is currently available at Canyon Café, Bishop Craft Burger and Campus Market for a limited time.

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