Ideation Fresh Food Service Forum Chef Demo By Chef Scott Uehlein of Sonic Corp-2017

Scott Uehlein recently left Canyon Ranch, where he had served as corporate chef for 17 years, to take the title of vice president of product innovation and development at Sonic Drive-In. A visionary in his field, Scott is consistently recognized for his creativity and expertise in the development and preparation of healthy cuisine. He is the author of Canyon Ranch Nourish: Indulgently Healthy Cuisine (Viking Press, 2009) and co-author of Canyon Ranch Cooks (Rodale Books, October 2003).

He received his culinary training at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Prior to joining Canyon Ranch, he studied with famed chef Madeleine Kamman at her school for American chefs located at the Beringer Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA, and served as executive chef at Los Abrigados Resort in Sedona, AZ. Under his direction, Canyon Ranch cuisine was given top honors by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler as well as Gourmet magazine, which stated that Scott and his staff “brought Canyon Ranch cuisine into a new dimension.”

CIA graduate Scott Uehlein, vice president of product innovation and development for Sonic Drive-In, announces the chain’s first mushroom and beef blended burger at the Menus of Change.

The restaurant is the first large chain to test a “blended burger,” a mushroom-beef burger with less fat and calories than the traditional version, a flavor that some consumers say is better, and a much smaller carbon footprint.

The restaurant isn’t the first to experiment with mushroom-beef burgers, though it will be the first fast food chain to do it at a large scale. The Blended Burger project, which is run by the mushroom industry trade association the Mushroom Council and the James Beard Foundation and challenges chefs to create recipes for patties that include at least 25% mushrooms, is currently running its third nationwide contest with a long list of chefs. Both school and corporate cafeterias have adopted blended burger recipes.

A study run by a third party for the Mushroom Council estimated that producing a pound of mushrooms has a carbon dioxide footprint of 0.7 pounds. A pound of beef, by contrast, has a CO2 footprint of 12.3 pounds–one of the most carbon-intensive foods on the planet. While some companies try to create fully plant-based burgers that taste like meat (and bleed like meat), or try to grow meat in a lab, the blended burger takes a different approach. It’s still meat, but with a lower footprint.

fter a 60-day trial in some yet-to-be-announced markets, Sonic will decide whether to make the blended burger a permanent offering at its more than 3,500 locations. “We have a strong test process where every new product is thoroughly tested for operational impact and consumer appeal, including in-market testing with advertising and merchandising,” says Uehlein. “If the product performs well in the market test, it will be considered for a national launch.”

See Chef Scott Uehlein of Sonic Corp, talk about his career and see him doing live Cooking Demo’s at the Ideation Fresh  Food Service Forum 2017,organized by The New York Produce Show team. See more about the The New York Produce Show in our World Liberty TV Food and Wine Blog by Clicking here.

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