Local chefs competing in James Beard burger challenge

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RENO, Nev. - (KOLO) The James Beard Foundation is sponsoring its annual Blended Burger Project, a nationwide contest that asks chefs to replace at least a quarter of the ground beef with chopped mushrooms; a nod to sustainability and nutrition. Chefs at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno have created the Mo-Bay burger, infused with tropical flavors.

"We ended up going Caribbean and when I was trying to find components for it I started thinking about my time in the Navy, when I did relief work down there," said John Baida, Chef de Cuisine at Bistro Napa. "It brought back some memories to help build the burger."

It's two beef, mushroom and red quinoa patties on a Jamaican sweet roll with a black bean and avocado spread. It's topped with gruyere and white cheddar, a cabbage and onion slaw with a citrus honey peppercorn vinaigrette, and sliced mangoes. The recipe came together quickly

"It took three attempts to get it done right and we nailed it," Baida said.

They're offering the burger in the lounge at Bistro Napa seven days a week and hoping the community will show support with daily online voting. The top five chefs will win a trip to the James Beard House in New York to showcase their creations.

"It's very prestigious; that's why we're trying to get that title," Baida said. "It will help the restaurant, the hotel and everyone involved."

Everyone who votes is entered to win a trip to that event.