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Campus & Community - Society & Culture

Eat a Better, Blended Burger to Support the Drexel Food Lab

June 13, 2016

Drexel Dragons, it’s time to get your burger on.

You can help the Drexel Food Lab in the Center for Hospitality and Sport Management participate in — and hopefully win! — the James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project in the next couple of weeks.

Drexel is competing in this national contest in which professional chefs vie to create a healthier, more sustainable and, yes, all-around “better” burger using a blend of mushrooms and ground meat. Since the Drexel Food Lab is an interdisciplinary research group that develops healthier and more affordable recipes and products, it goes without saying that the organization is a serious competitor — and knows how to build a healthy burger.

You can get your hands on Drexel’s exclusive burger, the Casanova Burger, at the Sidecar Bar and Grille from now until the end of July. A special Drexel night will be held at the southwest Center City bar on Thursday, June 16, starting at 5 p.m. All Drexel students, alumni, faculty, staff and families are invited. Underage students can enter the restaurant before 7 p.m.

The blended burger is made from a blend of Kobe beef brisket, chuck roll and crimini mushrooms. It’s topped with Bibb lettuce, heirloom tomato and a summer salad of jumbo lump crabmeat, corn, bacon and tarragon aioli, all served on an onion-poppy seed brioche bun. Sounds mouthwatering, right?

As it turns out, eating this delicious burger is only part of the way you can help the Drexel Food Lab in this national competition. The burgers with the most online votes will continue to the next round, so make sure to vote for the burger online and send the link out to get Drexel more votes. You can also promote the burger on social media using the #BlendedBurgerProject hashtag. At the time of publication, the Drexel burger is listed in second place for the Philadelphia region.

Ally Zeitz ’15, manager of the Food Lab, and Andrew Rosenbach, a senior culinary science student and research assistant at the Food Lab, initially developed the burger’s recipe. They then reached out to Chef Brian Lofink ’03, executive chef at the Sidecar Bar and Grille and Kermit’s Bake Shoppe, to finalize the recipe and promote the burger to a larger audience. Lofink, who is also the community chef in residence at Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, created a “summery” burger inspired by the popular surf-and-turf combination of red meat and seafood. He has collaborated with Zeitz and the Food Lab on numerous occasions, including a “wing night” at the Sidecar Bar and Grille.

Their most recent collaboration is up against some serious competition across the country and even in Philadelphia. Other local contestants include Village Whiskey, Rex 1516, Bareburger and Poi Dog Philly.

The creators of the five burgers with the most online votes will win a trip to the historic James Beard House in New York City to cook their dish at the welcome reception for the annual James Beard Foundation Food Conference in October. The only way to get Drexel to the final found is to try the burger and vote for it online — all in all, a pretty delicious way to support the Drexel Food Lab.