Toni Elkhouri of Cedar's Cafe in Melbourne is among the winners of this year's Blended Burger Project, sponsored by the James Beard Foundation and the Mushroom Council.
Elkhouri's entry, Brevard's Taste of Summer Burger, was one of five to receive the most votes in the two-month competition. According to JBF, 414 restaurants from 45 states participated in the quest for a "delicious, nutritious and sustainable burger" using a blend of mushrooms and meat. Elkhouri has been invited along with the other winners to cook her burger at the James Beard House in New York on January 23, 2018.
The Taste of Summer Burger features 40 percent of Florida-grown Monterery Mushrooms -- shitaki, oyster, button and portabella -- with ground leg of lamb. It's served on an apricot and liquid smoke-glazed bun, with sour cherry mustard, basil, brie and an herb-lemon-caper walnut relish.
Cedar's Cafe's 2016 entry was also a winner. That burger featured ground beef blended with portabella, shiitake and cremini mushrooms, topped with pomegranate ketchup, banana pepper-curry mustard, tahini remoulade, balsamic onion, goat cheese, bacon, spinach and avocado.
Cedar's Cafe will offer both burgers Sept 5 through 10. “(Last year) we sold more than 2,000 burgers in two months, and we sold a little more than 2,500 burgers this year," Elkhouri said, "so we thought our diners would appreciate seeing them one more time.”
Other Blended Burger winners include Bareburger, New York City; Vintage Kitchen, Norfolk, VA; Houston Yacht Club, La Porte, TX; and The Bistro at Topsail, Surf City, NC.
Cedar's Cafe is owned by chefs Toni and Marlene Elkhouri and features a regular menu of Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is at 4100 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne. The phone number is 321-751-0000.