Community Cooks: Lauren Holley’s Chili Maple Brunch Burger is a winner

Caption
Atlanta resident Lauren Holley was the creator of the best blended burger in the nation. Courtesy of the Mushroom Council

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Atlanta graphic designer and professional photographer Lauren Holley took her creativity into the kitchen earlier this year to win the 2020 Blended Burger Project: Home Edition competition, sponsored by Bon Appétit and the Mushroom Council. Bon Appétit Test Kitchen Director Chris Morocco cooked the top three burgers, and Holley’s Chili Maple Brunch Burger won.

The Blended Burger Project advocates blending fresh mushrooms with ground meat to make patties that are more nutritious, delicious and sustainable.

ExploreMust-try recipes
Caption
Lauren Holley shot this image of her winning burger against the Atlanta skyline from the Jackson Street Bridge. Courtesy of Lauren Holley

Credit: Lauren Holley

Credit: Lauren Holley

Article continues below

As a big fan of mushrooms, especially shiitake mushrooms, Holley decided it was something she’d like to try.

Our journalists are committed to pursuing the facts.Thank you for subscribing to
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I thought, I can make a delicious burger with mushrooms,” she said. “Because of COVID, I didn’t have as many clients, so I just made it my job. I did multiple versions. I kept playing around with the flavors. I’m from Louisiana, so I like those spicy flavor profiles. And I really like Calabrian chilis to add to just about anything, because they’re just so flavorful, but they don’t punch you in the face.”

Support Our JournalistsThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution's journalists report what's really going on in your community.

Holley’s experiments eventually turned toward breakfast and brunch flavors, with her own chili maple syrup and “mushroom bacon,” plus a sunny-side-up egg topping the winning burger.

Winning was “super exciting,” she said, “and the $10,000 could not have come at a better time, honestly.”

Caption
Burger contest winner Lauren Holley enjoys a cup of coffee at her home in the Old Fourth Ward. Courtesy of Lauren Holley

Credit: Lauren Holley

Credit: Lauren Holley

Chili Maple Brunch Burger

This brunch burger is made from hot Italian ground pork sausage, lean ground turkey, and a blend of shiitake, oyster and cremini mushrooms. Drizzled with chili maple syrup on a toasted sesame-seed bun, it’s a sweet and spicy explosion of flavor. Suggested toppings are melted sharp cheddar cheese, fresh arugula, “mushroom bacon” and a sunny-side-up egg.

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.