The prestigious James Beard Foundations’ Blended Burger Project competition runs from May 28 to July 31, 2018. Currently, Mandolin restaurant chef/owner & Raleigh native, Sean Fowler’s unique burger creation is not anywhere close to winning or making it to the top 20, in order to advance to the next stage of the competition which will conclude in NYC. But there is still a bit of time left for the popular Raleigh based farm-to-table restaurant operator to make some noise — about two weeks to be exact before the competition wraps up at the end of this month.

If you want to help out, you can vote once per day through July 31, 2018. It only takes 30 seconds to load up the website, scroll down and vote… Literally! No registration is required, only one click on the “VOTE” button towards the bottom and that’s it! If Fowler’s burger gets at least a few thousand votes over the next two weeks, it should help secure his spot in the next round and then it is up to the judges.

The top 2 vote-getters right now are from Florida. Sitting at the number 3 position is The Bistro at Topsail, from Surf City, North Carolina. Only two other local establishments from the Raleigh – Durham area submitted their entries for the 2018 competition, and they are nowhere near the top 20 either at this stage with time running out.

A panel of food experts selected by the James Beard Foundation will determine a total of five winners from the top 20 online entries with the most online votes. Experts will determine the top five winners based on the most creative use of mushrooms, best flavor profile, and presentation. Upon conclusion, the five winning chefs will win a trip to NYC to cook their blended burger dish at the historic James Beard House.

The Blueprint Burger from Chef Fowler & Mandolin

Chef Sean Fowler Burger Raleigh NC
Chef Sean Fowler’s Burger | Mandolin Restaurant – Raleigh, NC

This awesomely delicious burger is the chef’s take on the American classic that’s built around a blended burger of meat and mushrooms. With 50% grass-fed chuck, 25% Heritage Farms bacon, and 25% Fox Farm trumpet and shiitake mushrooms, it makes for a burger that’s incredibly delicious, healthier to eat, and more sustainable for the planet. They top it off with blue cheese, pickled Mandolin Farm ramp aioli, and squeeze it inside of a La Farm Bakery brioche bun and you’ve got two hands on one of maybe the best burgers you will ever taste.

Oh, and did we mention it is only going for $9 for a limited time? These burgers are so ahh-mazingly good. They are seriously life-changing. Burgers will never be the same again after you try out this delightfully classic creation from Chef Fowler at Mandolin.

This year marks the fourth annual Blended Burger Project, in which chefs across the nation, including those who already menu some of the best burgers around, have the opportunity to work with the James Beard Foundation and show guests how great taste, better nutrition, and increased sustainability can come together to improve the quality of the food they eat.

About Chef/Owner Sean Fowler at Mandolin

Raleigh native, Sean Fowler, returned home to open Mandolin, his debut restaurant. In fact, he has returned to his boyhood stomping grounds on the corner of Fairview and Oberlin Road. He remembers bellying up to the old Johnson’s Pharmacy lunch counter and washing down a grilled cheese with an ice cold limeade, after a long afternoon of riding bikes.

A quarter-century later, Sean’s culinary journey has come full circle, landing him back at the very same location. Years after Johnson’s Pharmacy closed its doors, Sean’s love for the fresh Southern foods that filled his childhood home, led him to train in some of the country’s top restaurants. Most recently, Sean was a Chef at the AAA 5 Diamond, Fearrington House, in Pittsboro, NC.

Chef Sean Fowler’s Mandolin is one of the best local spots in all of Raleigh for those who are looking for a unique culinary experience and the freshest in-season ingredients. It’s located in the Hayes Barton neighborhood, just a stone throw’s away from Cameron Village and Five Points.

” Like Fowler and the City of Oaks itself, Mandolin is Southern at its roots, and draws influences from around the world. Nestled in the historic Hayes Barton neighborhood, Mandolin has been named one of the “Triangle’s Best Restaurants” since it opened in 2011 and is now one of the premier destinations for celebrating North Carolina cuisine. Mandolin is known for its hyper seasonal menu, whole animal butchery, wood fired grill, and food and flowers grown on the chef’s Mandolin Farm…


About James Beard Foundation

The Blended Burger Project is a movement that strives to make burgers better by blending ground meat with chopped mushrooms, and the concept is hotter than ever. Chefs from around the country try to reimagine the iconic burger and to create a menu item that is incredibly delicious, healthier, and more sustainable for the planet.

For the past several years, chefs have faced increasing pressure to serve healthier meals and become more sustainable with their menus. Achieving nutrition, sustainability, and flavor is a core value of America’s food system and a major tenant of the James Beard Foundation and our Impact Programs. The Blend, which combines meat and mushrooms in the same patty, does just that by providing chefs a delicious opportunity to meet diners’ changing tastes.

” A simple concept with the power to make a difference, The Blend in recent years has placed atop numerous food trend lists. The World Resource Institute named it a “power” food that should be on every burger menu. The Blend was conceived and incubated by chefs at Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative (HMC), an educational initiative of high-volume culinary leaders developed by the Culinary Institute of America in partnership with its founding member, the Mushroom Council…


The Blend concept is an example of the innovative and strategic culinary insights that are used to address the substantial health and environmental imperatives that face the foodservice industry.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. The JBF is a national not-for-profit organization based in New York City.

As part of the foundation’s mission to make America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone, the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to cultivating leadership, recognizing excellence, and producing results through numerous programs and awards. The foundation is guided by the values of respect, transparency, diversity, sustainability, and equality.

So what do you love the most about the new Blueprint burger from Mandolin? Please be sure to hit us up on Twitter @919BlogNC or visit our Facebook page at and let us know! We would love to hear from ya.

This post was created in collaboration with the 919 Blog editorial team for exclusive digital publication on via The Triangle Blog Network