There’s nothing like sinking your teeth into a juicy burger.
 
Well, actually, how about a guilt-free option that is just as mouthwatering?
 
“I wanted to do something that added a little bit more depth to the flavor of the meat,” said Chef Tom Hughbanks, Holiday Inn Gaithersburg.
 
Award-winning Chef Tom Hughbanks is a born-and-bred Montgomery County native.
 
Hughbanks is one of six Marylanders who submitted their healthy creation to the 2017 Blended Burger Project.
 
“It’s a national competition to promote better burgers, other options and more sustainable ingredients,” said Hughbanks.
 
Chef Tom and Food and Beverage Director Chuck Cobb are big believers in farm-to-table, not just at mom and pop shops but at hotel chains too.
 
Harvest is very unique considering other restaurants we have in this community,” said Chuck Cobb, Holiday Inn Gaithersburg. “We’re farm-to-table. We’re creative. We’re doing nightly features. Chef Tom will go to local farmers’ markets.”
 
So, what’s in Chef Tom’s creation?
 
He uses grass-fed bison blended with 30 percent chanterelle and morel mushrooms, fried local baby kale seasoned with sea salt and smoked paprika, peppered apple-smoked bacon, a homemade smoked tomato jam and a black truffle aioli on ciabatta.
 
The contest is based on voting, which ends on July 31.
 
The top five entries are invited to the James Beard House in New York to go head-to-head in a cook-off.