Swapability is not just for use at home, chefs enjoy swapping mushrooms into their restaurant dishes as well. Council Representative, Bart Minor, shares his experience going behind the scenes at the first Signature Mushroom Recipe Competition.
The Mushroom Council was proud to sponsor the first “Signature Mushroom Recipe Competition” in Orlando, Florida on September 24th. Similar to challenges from hit shows like Iron Chef and Top Chef, competitors were faced with the task of preparing a dish that showcased mushroom swapability, the process of using mushrooms to extend the protein and enhance the flavor of a dish.
Nineteen chefs were invited to compete onsite at the Restaurant and Lodging Show. Competitors were given two hours to create a mushroom swapability dish, after which, the dishes were presented to three judges – Chef Louis Perrotte CEC, AAC, Chef Roland Schaeffer CEC, AAC, and Chef David St. John-Grubb Ph.D. CEC, CCE, CHE, AAC, while Chef Hiroshi Noguchi CEC, AAC covered the floor judging. The first place winner received $1000 in cash, while second place received $750, and third place received $500.
Competitors were very receptive to the idea of swapability, and a few chefs noted they even use it on a regular basis in their restaurants. While others like the idea of swapability, they would not use it in a ground meat application (they prefer to use less protein while increasing the perceived portion size with mushrooms – sautéed, roasted, or grilled). Here are some of the comments the chefs had regarding swapability.
Chef Deborah Buza | Salvation Army – Grant, FL
Recipe: Portabella Roulade with Mushroom Sauce, served with Almond Crusted Potato Gratin Cake, Mushroom Timbale with Tomato Compote and Garnished with Sautéed Mushroom Cap
“What I like most about cooking with mushrooms is all the flavors and the versatility – you can use them as a main dish, a garnish, and a component. I prefer to use portabella as they offer so many cooking options – you can grill, roast, bake, sauté. Mushroom swapability enhances the flavor of the protein – it adds that extra flavor.”
Chef Jenelle Buza | Ritz Carlton Naples – Naples, FL
Recipe: Shiitake, Oyster & Maitake Mushroom Agnolottis on Tomato Compote with Mushroom Sauce
“I enjoy cooking with mushrooms because of the depth of flavor they add to any dish. You want to be able to hit every spot on the flavor spectrum – sweet, salty, sour – to create that umami effect. I like the idea of swapability as long as you cook the mushrooms properly. You have to know the technique to execute it properly; there is nothing worse than a recipe that is soggy because the water was not sweated out before combining.”
Chef Erick Rodriguez | Universidad de Guayaquil – Ecuador
Recipe: Mushroom Puree with Stuffed Ravioli and Sautéed Asparagus
“I like the flavors and versatility of preparation in the kitchen – you can sauté, roast, grill. I like white button mushrooms and often use them in my entrees.”
Chef Sally Wilson | Johnson County Community College – Overland Park, KS
Recipe: Sautéed Mushroom Strudel, Pheasant Breast with Mushroom Sausage, Butternut Squash Puree with Goat Cheese, Glazed Broccoli Rabe with Batonnet of Carrots, Pheasant Ragout with Figs and Olives
“What I enjoy most about cooking with mushrooms is the many ways you can use them. You can do anything with them and incorporate them into any dish. I really enjoy cooking with crimini mushrooms and lobster mushrooms – they add such a nice flavor and are really colorful.
Despite all of the delicious and creative preparations, in the end, there could only be three winners. Congratulations to our top three competitors:
1st Place Winner: Chef Deborah Buza
2nd Place Winner: Chef Jenelle Buza
3rd Place Winner: Chef Erick Rodriquez
Thanks to all of the chefs who participated in this fun and landmark event for The Mushroom Council.
Would you order a mushroom swapability dish on a restaurant menu?